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Old Fishmarket, Edinburgh. 


Kind Re a dee, — Should you derive from the perusal 
of the following pages, which I have written with no other wish 
than that of procuring one favourable thought from you, a por- 
tion of the pleasure which I have felt in collecting the materials 
for their composition, my gratification will be ample, and the 
compensation for all my laboius will be more than, perhaps, I 
have a right to expect from an individual to whom I am as yet 
unknown, and to whom I must therefore, in the very outset, 
present some account of my life, and of the motives which have 
influenced me in thus bringing you into contact with an Ame- 
rican AVoodsman. 

I received life and light in the New World. When I had 
hardly yet learned to walk, and to articulate those first words 
always so endearing to parents, the productions of Nature that 
lay spread all around, were constantly pointed out to me. 
They soon became my playmates ; and before my ideas were 
sufficiently formed to enable me to estimate the difference be- 
tween the azure tints of the sky, and the emerald hue of the 


bright foliage, I felt that an intimacy with them, not consisting 
of friendship merely, but bordering on phrenzy, must accompany 
my steps through life ; — and now, more than ever, am I per- 
suaded of the power of those early impressions. They laid such 
hold upon me, that, when removed from the woods, the prai- 
ries, and the brooks, or shut up from the view of the wide 
Atlantic, I experienced none of those pleasures most congenial 
to my mind. None but aerial companions suited my fancy. 
No roof seemed so secure to me as that formed of the dense 
foliage imder which the feathered tribes were seen to resort, 
or the caves and fissures of the massy rocks to which the dark- 
winged Cormorant and the Cm-lew retired to rest, or to protect 
themselves from the fmy of the tempest. My father generally 
accompanied my steps, procured birds and flowers for me with 
great eagerness, — pointed out the elegant movements of the 
former, the beavity and softness of their plumage, the manifes- 
tations of their pleasure or sense of danger, — and the always 
perfect forms and splendid attire of the latter. My valued pre- 
ceptor woidd then speak of the departure and return of birds 
with the seasons, would describe their haunts, and, more won- 
derful than all, their change of hvery ; thus exciting me to study 
them, and to raise my mind toward their great Creator. 

A vivid pleasiure shone upon those days of my early youth, 
attended with a calmness of feeling, that seldom failed to rivet 
my attention for hom^s, whilst I gazed in ecstacy upon the pear- 
ly and shining eggs, as they lay imbedded in the softest down, 
or among dried leaves and twigs, or were exposed upon the 
burning sand or weather-beaten rock of our Atlantic shores. I 
was taught to look upon them as flowers yet in the bud. I 
watched their opening, to see how Natm-e had provided each dif- 


ferent species with eyes, either open at birth, or closed for some 
time after ; to trace the slow progress of the young birds toward 
perfection, or admire the celerity with which some of them, while 
yet unfledged, removed themselves from danger to security. 

I grew up, and my wishes grew with my form. These 
wishes, kind reader, were for the entire possession of all that I 
saw. I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with 
natiu:e. For many years, however, I was sadly disappointed, 
and for ever, doubtless, must I have desires that cannot be gra- 
tified. The moment a bird was dead, however beautiful it had 
been when in life, the pleasure arising from the possession of 
it became blunted ; and although the greatest cares were be- 
stowed on endeavours to preserve the appearance of natiLre, I 
looked upon its vesture as more than sullied, as requiring con- 
stant attention and repeated mendings, while, after all, it could 
no longer be said to be fresh from the hands of its Maker. I 
wished to possess all the productions of nature, but I wished 
life with them. This was impossible. Then what was to be 
done ? I turned to my father, and made known to him my dis- 
appointment and anxiety. He produced a book of Illustra- 
tions. A new life ran in my veins. I turned over the leaves 
with avidity ; and although what I saw was not what 1 longed 
for, it gave me a desire to copy nature. To Nature I went, and 
tried to imitate her, as in the days of my childhood I had tried 
to raise myself from the ground and stand erect, before nature 
had imparted the vigour necessary for the success of such an 

How sorely disappointed did I feel for many years, when I 
saw that my productions were worse than those which I ven- 
tured (perhaps in silence) to regard as bad, in the book given^ 


me by my father ! My pencil gave birth to a family of cripples. 
So maimed were most of them, that they resembled the man- 
gled corpses on a field of battle, compared with the integrity of 
living men. These difficulties and disappointments irritated 
me, but never for a moment destroyed the desire of obtaining 
perfect representations of nature. The worse my drawings were, 
the more beautifid did I see the originals. To have been torn 
from the study would have been as death to me. My time was 
entirely occupied with it. I produced hundreds of these rude 
sketches annually ; and for a long time, at my request, they 
made bonfires on the anniversaries of my birth-day. 

Patiently, and with industry, did I apply myself to study, 
for, although I felt the impossibility of giving life to my pro- 
ductions, I did not abandon the idea of representing nature. 
Many plans were successively adopted, many masters guided 
my hand. At the age of seventeen, when I retmned from 
France, whither I had gone to receive the rudiments of my 
education, my drawings had assumed a form. David had 
guided my hand in tracing objects of large size. Eyes and 
noses belonging to giants, and heads of horses represented in 
ancient sculpture, were my models. These, although fit sub- 
jects for men intent on pursuing the higher branches of the art, 
were immediately laid aside by me. I returned to the woods of 
the New World with fresh ardour, and commenced a collection 
of drawings, which I henceforth continued, and which is now 
publishing, under the title of " The Birds of America." 

To these Illustrations I shall often refer you, good-natured 
reader, in the sequel, that you may judge of them yourself. 
Should you discover any merit in them, happy would the ex- 
pression of your approbation render me, for I should feel that I 


had not spent my life in vain. You can best ascertain the 
truth of these delineations. I am persuaded that you love na- 
ture — that you admire and study her. Every individual, pos- 
sessed of a sound heart, listens with delight to the love-notes of 
the woodland warblers. He never casts a glance upon their 
lovely forms without proposing to himself questions respecting 
them ; nor does he look on the trees which they frequent, or 
the flowers over which they glide, without admiring their 
grandeur, or delighting in their sweet odours or their brilliant 

In Pennsylvania, a beautiful State, almost central on the 
line of our Atlantic shores, my father, in his desire of proving 
my friend through life, gave me what Americans call a beautiful 
" plantation," refreshed during the summer heats by the waters 
of the Schuylkil River, and traversed by a creek named Per- 
kioming. Its fine woodlands, its extensive fields, its hills 
crowned with evergreens, offered many subjects to my pencil. 
It was there that I commenced my simple and agreeable stu- 
dies, with as little concern about the futm-e as if the world had 
been made for me. My rambles invariably commenced at break 
of day ; and to return wet with dew, and bearing a feathered 
prize, was, and ever will be, the highest enjoyment for which I 
have been fitted. 

Yet think not, reader, that the enthusiasm which I felt for 
my favoiu-ite pm-suits was a barrier opposed to the admission of 
gentler sentiments. Nature, which had turned my young mind 
toward the bird and the flower, soon proved her influence upon 
my heart. Be it enough to say, that the object of my passion 
has long since blessed me with the name of husband. And 


now let us return, for who cares to listen to the love-tale of a 
naturalist, whose feelings may be supposed to he as light as the 
feathers which he delineates ! 

For a period of nearly twenty years, my life was a succession 
of vicissitudes. I tried various branches of commerce, but they 
all proved unprofitable, doubtless because my whole mind was 
ever filled with my passion for rambling and admiring those ob- 
jects of nature from which alone I received the purest gratifica- 
tion. I had to struggle against the will of all who at that period 
called themselves my friends. I must here, however, except my 
wife and children. The remarks of my other friends irritated me 
beyond endm-ance, and, breaking through aU bonds, I gave 
myself entirely up to my pursuits. Any one unacquainted with 
the extraordinary desire which I then felt of seeing and judg- 
ing for myself, would doubtless have pronounced me callous to 
every sense of duty, and regardless of every interest. I under- 
took long and tedious journeys, ransacked the woods, the lakes, 
the prairies, and the shores of the Atlantic. Years were spent 
away from my family. Yet, reader, will you believe it, I had 
no other object in view, than simply to enjoy the sight of na- 
ture. Never for a moment did I conceive the hope of becoming 
in any degree useful to my kind, until I accidentally fonned ac- 
quaintance with the Prince of Musignano at Philadelphia, to 
which place I went, with the view of proceeding eastward along 
the coast. 

I reached Philadelphia on the 5th April 1824, just as the 
sun was sinking beneath the horizon. Excepting the good Dr 
Mease, who had visited me in my younger days, I had scarce- 
ly a friend in the city ; for I was then unacquainted with 
Harlan,Wetherei.l,Macmuiitrie,Lesueuii, or Sully. 


I called on him, and showed him some of my drawings. He 
presented me to the celebrated Charles Lucian Bona- 
parte, who in his turn introduced me to the Natural History 
Society of Philadelphia. But the patronage which I so much 
needed, I soon found myself compelled to seek elsewhere. I 
left Philadelphia, and visited New York, where I was received 
with a kindness well suited to elevate my depressed spirits ; 
and afterwards, ascending that noble stream the Hudson, glid- 
ed over our broad lakes, to seek the wildest solitudes of the 
pathless and gloomy forests. 

It was in these forests that, for the first time, I communed 
with myself as to the possible event of my visiting Europe 
again ; and I began to fancy my work under the multiplying 
efforts of the graver. Happy days, and nights of pleasing 
dreams ! I read over the catalogue of my collection, and 
thought how it might be possible for an unconnected and un- 
aided individual like myself to accomplish the grand scheme. 
Chance, and chance alone, had divided my drawings into three 
different classes, depending upon the magnitude of the objects 
which they represented 5 and, although I did not at that time 
possess all the specimens necessary, I arranged them as well as 
I could into parcels of five plates, each of which now forms a 
Number of my Illustrations. I improved the whole as much as 
was in my power ; and as I daily retired farther from the haunts 
of man, determined to leave nothing undone, which my labour, 
my time, or my purse, could accomplish. 

Eighteen months elapsed. I returned to my family, then 
in Louisiana, explored every portion of the vast woods around, 
and at last sailed towards the Old World. But before we visit 
the shores of hospitable England, I have the wish, goocl-natm-ed 


reader, to give you some idea of my mode of executing the ori- 
ginal drawings, from which the Illustrations have been taken ; 
and I sincerely hope that the perusal of these lines may excite 
in you a desire minutely to examine them. 

Merely to say, that each object of my Illustrations is of the 
size of nature, were too vague — for to many it might only con- 
vey the idea that they are so, more or less, according as the eye 
of the delineator may have been more or less correct in mea- 
surement simply obtained through that medium ; and of avoid- 
ing error in this respect I am particularly desirous. Not only 
is every object, as a whole, of the natural size, but also every 
portion of each object. The compass aided me in its delinea- 
tion, regulated and corrected each part, even to the very fore- 
shortening which now and then may be seen in the figures. 
The bill, the feet, the legs, the claws, the very feathers as they 
project one beyond another, have been accurately measured. 
The birds, almost all of them, were killed by myself, after I had 
examined their motions and habits, as much as the case admit- 
ted, and were regularly drawn on or near the spot where I 
prociu-ed them. The positions may, perhaps, in some instances, 
appear outre ; but such supposed exaggerations can afford sub- 
ject of criticism only to persons unacquainted with the feathered 
tribes ; for, believe me, nothing can be more transient or varied 
than the attitudes or positions of birds. The Heron, when 
warming itself in the sun, will sometimes drop its wings several 
inches, as if they were dislocated ; the Swan may often be seen 
floating with one foot extended from the body ; and some Pi- 
geons, you well know, turn quite over, when playing in the air. 
The flowers, plants, or portions of trees which are attached to 
the principal objects, have been chosen from amongst those in 


the vicinity of which the birds were found, and are not, as some 
persons have thought, the trees or plants upon which they al- 
ways feed or perch. 

An accident which happened to two hundred of my original 
drawings, nearly put a stop to my researches in ornithology. 
I shall relate it, merely to show you how far enthusiasm — ^for 
by no other name can I call the persevering zeal with which I 
laboured — ^may enable the observer of nature to surmount the 
most disheartening obstacles. I left the village of Henderson, 
in Kentucky, situated on the bank of the Ohio, where I resided 
for several years, to proceed to Philadelphia on business. I 
looked to all my drawings before my departiu-e, placed them 
carefully in a wooden box, and gave them in charge to a rela- 
tive, with injunctions to see that no injury should happen to 
them. My absence was of several months; and when I re- 
turned, after having enjoyed the pleasures of home for a few 
days, I inquired after my box, and what I was pleased to call 
my treasure. The box was produced, and opened ; — but, 
reader, feel for me — a pair of Norway rats had taken posses- 
sion of the whole, and had reared a young family amongst the 
gnawed bits of paper, which, but a few months before, repre- 
sented nearly a thousand inhabitants of the air ! The bm-ning 
heat which instantly rushed through my brain was too great to 
be endured, without affecting the whole of my nervous system. 
I slept not for several nights, and the days passed like days of 
oblivion, — until the animal powers being recalled into action, 
through the strength of my constitution, I took up my gun, 
my note-book, and my pencils, and went forth to the woods as 
gaily as if nothing had happened. I felt pleased that I might 
now make much better drawings than before, and, ere a period 


not exceeding three years had elapsed, I had my portfolio filled 

America being my country, and the principal pleasures of 
my life having been obtained there, I prepared to leave it with 
deep sorrow, after in vain trying to publish my Illustrations in 
the United States. In Philadelphia, Wilson's principal en- 
graver, amongst others, gave it as his opinion to my friends, that 
my drawings could never be engraved. In New York, other 
difficidties presented themselves, which determined me to carry 
my collections to Em^ope. 

As I approached the coast of England, and for the first 
time beheld her fertile shores, the despondency of my spirits 
became very great. I knew not an individual in the country ; 
and, although 1 was the bearer of letters from American friends, 
and statesmen of great eminence, my situation appeared preca- 
rious in the extreme. I imagined that every individual whom 
I was about to meet, might be possessed of talents superior to 
those of any on our side of the Atlantic ! Indeed, as I for the 
first time walked on the streets of Liverpool, my heart nearly 
failed me, for not a glance of sympathy did I meet in my wan- 
derings, for two days. To the woods I could not betake myself, 
for there were none near. 

But how soon did all around me assume a different aspect ! 
How fresh is the recollection of the change ! The very first 
letter which I tendered procured me a world of friends. The 
Rathbones, the Roscoes, the Tkaills, the Chorleys, 
the Mellies, and others, took me by the hand ; and so kind 
and beneficent, nay, so generously kind, have they all been to- 
wards me, that I can never cancel the obligation. My draw- 
ings were publicly exhibited, and publicly praised. Joy swelled 


my heart. The first difficulty was surmounted. Honours, 
which, on apphcation being made through my friends, Phila- 
delphia had refused, Liverpool freely accorded. 

I left that emporium of commerce, with many a passport, 
bent upon visiting fair Edina, for I longed to see the men 
and the scenes immortalized by the fervid strains of Burns, 
and the glowing eloquence of Scott and Wilson. I arrived 
at Manchester ; and here, too, the Greggs, the Lloyds, the 
Sergeants, the Holmes, the Blackwalls, the Bentleys, 
and many others, rendered my visit as pleasing as it was profit- 
able to me. Friends pressed me to accompany them to the 
pretty villages of Bakewell, Mattlock, and Buxton. It was a 
jaunt of pure enjoyment. Nature was then at her best, at least 
such was the feeling of our whole party ; the summer was full 
of promise. 

My journey to Scotland was performed along the north- 
western shores of England. I passed in view of Lancaster 
Castle, and through Carlisle. I had by this time much altered 
my ideas of this Island and its inhabitants. I found her 
churches all hung with her glories, and her people all alive to 
the kindest hospitality. I saw Edinburgh, and was struck with 
the natural pictorial elegance of her site ; and I soon found 
that her inhabitants were as urbane as those whom I had left 
behind me. The principal scientific and literary characters of 
the ancient metropolis of Scotland received me as a brother. 
It is impossible for me to mention all the individuals from 
whom I received the kindest attention ; but gratitude forbids 
my omitting the names of Professors Jameson, Graham, 
Russel, Wilson, Brown, and Monro, Sir Walter 
Scott, Captain Hall, Dr Brewster, Dr Greville, 


Mr James Wilson, Mr Neill, Mr Hay, Mr Combe, Mr 
Hamilton, the Withams, the Li^arses, the Symes, and 
the Nicholsons. The Royal Society, the Wernerian Natural 
History Society, the Society of Scottish Antiquaries, the So- 
ciety of Useful Arts, and the Scottish Academy of Painting, 
Sculpture, and Architectiu'e, spontaneously and gratuitously 
enrolled me among their members. 

In this capital commenced the publication of my Illus- 
trations, and there it might have been accomplished, had 
not unexpected difficulties come in the way. My engraver, 
Mr W. H. LiZARS, advised me to seek an artist in London. 
There, after many fruitless inquiries, I became acquainted with 
Mr Robert Havell junior, who has ever since continued to 
be employed by me, and who, I am happy in saying, has given 
general satisfaction to my patrons. 

Foiur years have passed. One volume of my Illustrations, 
containing one hundred plates, is before the public. You may 
easily see, good-natured reader, that to Britain I owe nearly all 
my success. She has furnished the artists through whom my 
labom-s were to be presented to the world ; she has granted me 
the highest patronage and honours ; — in a word, she has thus 
far supported the prosecution of my Illustrations. To Britain, 
therefore, I shall ever be grateful. 

Two objections have been made to the mode in which my 
work is published : the great size of the paper upon which the 
representations are offered to you, and the length of time ne- 
cessary for their completion. 

As to the size of the paper, which has been complained of 
by some, it could not be avoided without giving up the desire 
of presenting to the world those my favourite objects in nature. 


of the size which nature has given to them. As one of the first 
ornitliologists of the age, who kindly reviewed a few numbers 
of the Plates, has spoken upon this subject in a manner which 
I cannot here use, I refer you to his observations. The name 
of SwAiNsoN is, doubtless, well known to you. Permit me 
also to lead you, for a defence of my resolution in this matter, 
to one, who, being the centre of zoological science, is well en- 
titled to yom* deference in a question relating to Ornithology. 
You will readily apprehend that I allude to the great, the im- 
mortal CuviER. 

Secondly, As to the time necessary for finishing my Work, 
I have only to observe, that it will be less than the period fre- 
quently given by many persons to the maturation of certain 
wines placed in their cellars, several years previous to the com- 
mencement of my work, and which will not be considered ca- 
pable of imparting their full relish until many years after the 
conclusion of the " Birds of America." 

Since I became acquainted with Mr Alexander Wilson, 
the celebrated author of the well-known and duly appreciated 
work on American Birds, and subsequently with my excellent 
friend Charles Lucian Bonaparte, I have been aware of 
the keenness with which every student of Natural History 
presses forward to describe an object of his ovni discovery, or 
that may have occurred to travellers in distant countries. There 
seems to be a pride, a glory in doing this, that thrusts aside 
every other consideration ; and I really believe that the ties of 
friendship itself would not prevent some naturalists from even 
robbing an old acquaintance of the merit of first describing a 
previously vmknown object. Although I have certainly felt very 
great pleasure, when, on picking up a bird, I discovered it to be 



new to me, yet I have never known the desire above alluded to. 
This feeling I still cherish ; and in spite of the many injunc- 
tions which I have received from naturalists far more eminent 
than I can ever expect to be, I have kept, and still keep, 
unknown to others, the species, which, not finding portrayed 
in any published work, I look upon as new, having only given 
in my Illustrations a number of them proportionate to the 
drawings of already known species that have been engraved. 
Attached to the descriptions of these, you wdl find the place 
and date of their discovery. I do not, however, intend to claim 
any merit for these discoveries, and should have liked as well 
that the objects of them had been previously known, as this 
would have saved some unbelievers the trouble of searching for 
them in books, and the disappointment of finding them actually 
new. I assure you, good reader, that, even at this moment, I 
should have less pleasm-e in presenting to the scientific world 
a new bird, the knowledge of whose habits I do not possess, 
than in describing the peculiarities of one long since discovered. 
There are persons whose desire of obtaining celebrity in- 
duces them to suppress the knowledge of the assistance which 
they have received in the composition of their works. In many 
cases, in fact, the real author of the drawings or the descriptions 
in books on Natural History is not so much as mentioned, 
while the pretended author assumes to himself all the merit 
which the world is willing to allow him. This want of can- 
dour I never could endure. On the contrary, I feel pleasm-e 
in here acknowledging the assistance which I have received from 
a friend, Mr William Macgillivkay, who being possessed 
of a liberal education and a strong taste for the study of the 
Natvnal Sciences, has aided m.e, not in drawing the figures of 


my Illustrations, nor in writing the book now in your hand, al- 
tliough fully competent for both tasks, but in completing the 
scientific details, and smoothing down the asperities of my 
Ornithological Biographies. 

I do not present to you the objects of which my work con- 
sists in the order adopted by systematic writers. Indeed, I can 
scarcely believe that yom'self, good-natured reader, could wish 
that I shoidd do so ; for although you and I, and all the world be- 
sides, are well aware that a grand connected chain does exist in 
the Creator's sublime system, the subjects of it have been left at 
liberty to disperse in quest of the food best adapted for them, 
or the comforts that have been so abundantly scattered for each 
of them over the globe, and are not in the habit of following 
each other, as if marching in regular procession to a funeral or 
a merry-making. He who woidd wiite a general ornithology 
of the world, and is possessed of knowledge adequate to such a 
task, is the only one by whom the ordination of birds could be 
made tridy useful. When this work is completed, and when 
the resvdts of my observations have been duly weighed and ar- 
ranged, 1 shall reduce the whole to an order corresponding with 
the improvements recently made in ornithological science, and 
present to you a Synopsis of the Birds of the United States, 
including the ordinal, generic and specific characters, with the 
distinctive habits of each species, and references to the descrip- 
tions of other writers. 

I shall therefore simply offer you the results of my own ob- 
servation with respect to each of the species, in the order in 
which I have published the representations of them. Nor do I 
intend to annoy you with long descriptions, including the num- 
ber and shape of the feathers, particularly in cases where the 


species are well known. Tables of synonyms I have also judged 
superfluous. Indeed, the technical descriptions and references 
you will find as appendages to the more generally interesting 
descriptions of the habits of each species ; so that you may read 
them or not, just as you please. Yet, should you be inclined 
to enter into these matters, I trust you will find in these ap- 
pendages descriptions constructed according to the strictest rules 
of science. 

Should you, good-natured reader, be a botanist, I hope you 
will find pleasure while looking at the flowers, the herbs, the 
shrubs, and the trees, which I have represented ; the more so, 
I imagine, if you have seen them in their native woods. Should 
you not, the sight of them in my Illustrations may, for aught 
I know, tempt you to go and partake of the hospitality of our 
brethren the Aborigines of America. 

Permit me now to address a few words to the Critic, who I 

fervently hope is a good-natured reader too. This I do with 

much deference. He has seen my Illustrations, and has judged 

favourably of them ; he has passed his keen eye over this page ; 

he knows the very moderate strength of my talents; and I 

have only to add, with my compliments, that ever since I have 

known that such a person as himself exists, I have laboiu-ed 

harder, with more patience and with more care, to gain his good 

will, indulgence, and support. 


3Iarch 1831. 



The Wild Turkey, ...... 

The Yellow-billed Cuckoo, 
The Prothonotary Warbler, . 

The Pui'ple Finch, 

Bonaparte's Fly-catcher, .... 

The Ohio, . 

The Wild Turkey. Female. . . . 
The Purple Grakle, or Common •» 
Crow-Black-bird, .... J 
The Wliite-throated Sparrow, . . 

Selby's Flycatcher, 

The Brown Titlark, 

The Ore at Pine Swamp, . . . 

Meleagris Gallopavo, 
Coccyzus Americanus, 
Sylvia Protonotarius, 
Fringilla purpurea, . 
Muscicapa Bonapartii, 

Meleagris Gallopavo 

Quiscalus versicolor, . 

Fringilla pennsylvanica, 
Muscicapa Selbii. 
Anthus Spinoletta, 

The Bird of Washington, .... 

The Baltimore Oriole, 

The Snow Bird, ....... 

The Prairie Warbler, . ■ . . . . 

The Blue Yellow-backed Warbler, . 

The Prairie, 

The Great-footed Hawk, . . . . 
The Carolina Turtle Dove, . . . 
Bewick's Wren, . . . '. . . . 
The Louisiana Water Thrush, . . 
The Blue-winged Yellow Warbler, 

The Regulators, 

Falco Washingtonii, 
Icterus Baltimore, 
Fringilla hyemalis, 
Sylvia discolor, 
Sylvia americana. 

Falco peregrinus, . . 
Columba carolinensis. 
Troglodytes Bewickii, 
Turdus ludovicianus, 
Sylvia solitaria, . . 















Tlie Mocking Bird, Turdus pohjglottus, ... 108 

The Purple Martin, Hirundo purjmrea, . . • 115 

The Yellow-breasted Warbler, or ^ ^ , ,m 

> Sylvia Trichas, . . . J ^ 1 
Maryland Yellow-throat, . • J 

Roscoe's Yellow-throat, .... Sylvia Eoscoe, .... 124 

The Song Sparrow, Fringilla melodia, . . . 126 

Improvements in the Navigation of the Mississippi, . . . 130 

The Carolina Parrot, Psittacus carolinensis, . . 135 

The Red- headed Woodpecker, . . Picus erythrocephalus, . . 141 

The Solitary Fly-catcher, or Vireo, Vireo solitai-ius, .... 147 

The Towhe Bunting, Fringilla erythrophthalma, . 130 

Vigors's Warbler, ...... Sylvia Vigorsii, .... 153 

A Flood, 155 

The White-headed Eagle, .... Falco leucocephalm, . . . 160 

The Black-billed Cuckoo, .... Coccyzus erythrophthalmus, 170 

The American Goldfinch, . . . . Fringilla tristis, . . . . 172 

The Worm-eating Warbler, . . . Sylvia vennivora, . . . . 177 

Children's Warbler, Sylvia Childreniii 180 

Meadvtlle, . 182 

The Stanley Hawk, Falco Stanleii, 186 

The Golden-winged Woodpecker, . Pictis auratus, ' . . . • 191 

The Kentucky Warbler, .... Sylvia formosa, . ... 196 

The Crested Titmouse, . . . . Parus hicolm, 199 

The American Redstart, .... Muscicapa Ruticilla^ . . 202 

The Cougar, 205 

The Ruffed Grouse, Tetrao Umbellus, . . . . 211 

The Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius, .... 221 

The Cedar Bird, Bombycilla carolinensis^ . . 227 

The Summer Red Bird, .... Tanagra cestiva, .... 232 

Traill's Fly-catcher, Muscicapa Traillii, . . . 236 

The Earthquake, 239 

The Barred Owl, . . . . . . Strix nebulosa^ 242 

The Ruby- throated Humming Bird, Trochilus colubris, . . . 248 

The Azure Warbler, Sylvia azurea, 235 



The Blue-green Warbler, .... Sylvia rara, . . . . . 258 
The Black-and-yellow Warbler, . Sylvia maculosa, .... 260 

The Hurricane, 262 

The Red-tailed Hawk, Falco borealis, 265 

Chuckwill's Widow, Caprimulgus carolinensis, . 273 

The Painted Finch, . . . . . ' . Fringilla ciris, 279 

The Rice Bird, Icterus agripennis, . . . 283 

Cuvier's Regulus, Regulus Cuvierii, .... 288 

Kentucky Sports, 290 

The Red-shouldered Hawk, . . . Falco lineatus, .... 296 

The Loggerhead Shrike, .... Lanius ludovicianus, . . - . 300 

The Hermit Thrush, . . . . . Turdus minor, 303 

The Chestnut-sided Warbler, . . Sylvia icterocephala, . . . 306 

The Carbonated Warbler, .... Sylvia carbonata, .... 308 

The Traveller and the Pole-cat, 310 

The Great Horned Owl, .... Strix virginiana, .... 313 

The Passenger Pigeon, . . . ^ Columba migratoria, . . . 319 

The White-eyed Flycatcher, or Vireo, Vireo noveboracensis, . . 328 

The Swamp Sparrow, Fringilla palustris, . . . 331 

The Rathbone Warbler, . . . Sylvia Bathbmiia, .... 333 

Deer Hunting, 335 

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker, . • Picus principalis, .... 341 

The Red-winged Starling, or Marsh "» 

^, - , . - \ Icterus phceniceus, .... 348 

Blackbird, ) 

The Republican, or Cliff Swallow, Hirundo fulva, .... 333 

The Bay-breasted Warbler, . . . Sylvia castanea, .... 358 

Henslow's Bunting, Emberiza Henslowii, . . 360 

Niagara 362 

The Winter Hawk, Falco hyemalis, .... 364 

The Swallow-tailed Hawk, . . . Falco furcatus, .... 368 

The Wood Thrush, Turdus mustelinus, . . . 372 

The Indigo Bird, ...... Fringilla cyanea, .... 377 

Le Petit Caporal, Falco temerarius, .... 381 

Hospitality in the Woods, 383 



The Virginian Partridge, 
The Belted Kingsfisher, . 
The Great Carolina Wren, 
The Tyrant Fly-catcher, . 
The Prairie Titlark, . . 

The Original Painter, 

The Fish Hawk or Osprey, 
Wliip-poor-will, . . . . 
The House Wren, . . . 
The Blue-grey Fly-catcher, 
The Yellow-throated Warbler. 

Louisville in Kentucky, 

The Black Warrior, . . 
The Florida Jay, . . . 
The Autumnal Warbler, . 
The Nashville Warbler, . 
The Black-and-white Creeper, 

The Eccentric Naturalist, 

The Broad-winged Hawk, 
The Pigeon Hawk, .... 
The Sea-side Finch, . . . 
The Grass Finch or Bay-winged 


The Yellow-poll Warbler, . . 


The Columbian Jay, 
The Little Screech Owl, . 
The White-bellied Swallow, 
The Cow-pen Bird, . . . 
The Marsh Wren, . . . 

Colonel Boon, . . . 

Perdix virginiana, 
Alcedo Alcyon, . . 
Troglodytes ludovicianiis, 
Muscicapa tyrannus, 
Anthus pipiens, 

Falco Haliaetus, . 
Caprimulgus vociferus. 
Troglodytes cedon, 
Muscicapa coerulea, 
Sylvia pe?isilis. 

Falco Harlani, 
Corvus Jloridanus, 
Sylvia autumnalis, 
Sylvia ruhricapilla^ 
Certhia varia, . . 

Falco pennsylvanicns, 
Falco columbarius, 
Fringilla maritvna, 

Fringilla graminea, 

Sylvia estiva, . 

Corvus Bullockiif 
Strix Asia, . . 
Hirundo bicolor. 
Icterus pecoris, 
Troglodytes palustris. 
















Meleagris Gallopavo, Linn. 

PLATE I. Male. 

The great size and beauty of the Wild Turkey, its value as a delicate 
and highly prized article of food, and the circumstance of its being the 
origin of the domestic race now generally dispersed over both continents, 
render it one of the most interesting of the birds indigenous to the United 
States of America. 

The unsettled parts of the States of Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, and 
Indiana, an immense extent of country to the north-west of these districts, 
upon the Mississippi and Missouri, and the vast regions drained by these 
rivers from their confluence to Louisiana, including the wooded parts of 
Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama, are the most abundantly supplied 
with this magnificent bird. It is less plentiful in Georgia and the 
Carolinas, becomes still scarcer in Virginia and Pennsylvania, and is now 
very rarely seen to the eastward of the last mentioned States. In the 
course of my rambles through Long Island, the State of New York, 
and the country around the Lakes, I did not meet with a single in- 
dividual, although I was informed that some exist in those parts. Tur- 
keys are still to be found along the whole line of the Alleghany Moun- 
tains, where they have become so wary as to be approached only with 
extreme difficulty. While, in the Great Pine Forest, in 1829, I found 
a single feather that had been dropped from the tail of a female, but saw 
no bird of the kind. Farther eastward, I do not think they are now to 
be found. I shall describe the manners of this bird as observed in the 
countries where it is most abundant, and having resided for many years in 
Kentucky and Louisiana, may be understood as referring chiefly to them. 


The Turkey is irregularly migratory, as well as irregularly gregari- 
ous. With reference to the first of these circumstances, I have to state, 
that whenever the mast * of one portion of the country happens greatly 
to exceed that of another, the Turkeys are insensibly led toward that 
spot, by gradually meeting in their haunts with more fruit the nearer 
they advance towards the place where it is most plentiful. In this man- 
ner flock follows after flock, until one district is entirely deserted, while 
another is, as it were, overflowed by them. But as these migrations are 
irregular, and extend over a vast expanse of country, it is necessary that 
I should describe the manner in which they take place. 

About the beginning of October, when scarcely any of the seeds and 
fruits have yet fallen from the trees, these birds assemble in flocks, and gra^ 
dually move towards the rich bottom lands of the Ohio and Mississippi. 
The males, or, as they are more commonly called, the gobblers, associate in 
parties of from ten to a hundred, and search for food apart from the 
females ; while the latter are seen either advancing singly, each with its 
brood of young, then about two-thirds grown, or in connexion with other 
famihes, forming parties often amounting to seventy or eighty indivi- 
duals, all intent on shunning the old cocks, which, even when the young 
birds have attained this size, will fight with, and often destroy them by 
repeated blows on the head. Old and young, however, all move in the 
same course, and on foot, unless their progress be interrupted by a river, 
or the hunter's dog force them to take wing. When they come upon a 
river, they betake themselves to the highest eminences, and there often 
remain a whole day, or sometimes two, as if for the purpose of consul- 
tation. During this time, the males are heard gobbling, calling, and 
making much ado, and are seen strutting about, as if to raise their 
courage to a pitch befitting the emergency. Even the females and 
young assume something of the same pompous demeanour, spread out 
their tails, and run round each other, purring loudly, and performing- 
extravagant leaps. At length, when the weather appears settled, and all 
around is quiet, the whole party mounts to the tops of the highest trees, 
whence, at a signal, consisting of a single duck, given by a leader, the 
flock takes flight for the opposite shore. The old and fat birds easily 
get over, even should the river be a mile in breadth ; but the younger 
and less robust frequently fall into the water, — not to be drowned, how- 

• In America, fhe term mast is not confined to tlie fruit of tlie beech, but is used as a 
general name for all kinds of forest fruits, including even grapes and berries. 


ever, as might be imagined. They bring their wings close to their body, 
spread out their tail as a support, stretch forward their neck, and, strik- 
ing out their legs with great vigour, proceed rapidly towards the shore ; 
on approaching which, should they find it too steep for landing, they 
cease their exertions for a few moments, float down the stream until they 
come to an accessible part, and by a violent effort generally extricate 
themselves from the water. It is remarkable, that immediately after 
thus crossing a large stream, they ramble about for some time, as if be- 
wildered. In this state, they fall an easy prey to the hunter. 

When the Turkeys arrive in parts where the mast is abundant, they 
separate into smaller flocks, composed of birds of all ages and both sexes, 
promiscviously mingled, and devour all before them. This happens 
about the middle of November. So gentle do they sometimes become 
after these long journeys, that they have been seen to approach the farm- 
houses, associate with the domestic fowls, and enter the stables and corn- 
cribs in quest of food. In this way, roaming about the forests, and feed- 
ing chiefly on mast, they pass the autumn and part of the winter. 

As early as the middle of February, they begin to experience the im- 
pulse of propagation. The females separate, and fly from the males. 
The latter strenuously pursue, and begin to gobble or to utter the 
notes of exultation. The sexes roost apart, but at no great distance 
from each other. When a female utters a call-note, all the gobblers 
within hearing return the sound, rolling note after note with as much 
rapidity as if they intended to emit the last and the first together, not 
with spread tail, as when fluttering round the females on the ground, 
or practising on the branches of the trees on which they have roosted for 
the night, but much in the manner of the domestic tui-key, when an un- 
usual or unexpected noise elicits its singular hubbub. If the call of the 
female comes from the ground, aU the males immediately fly towards the 
spot, and the moment they reach it, whether the hen be in sight or not, 
spread out and erect their tail, draw the head back on the shoulders, de- 
press their wings with a quivering motion, and strut pompously about, 
emitting at the same time a succession of puff's from the lungs, and stop- 
ping now and then to listen and look. But whether they spy the female 
or not, they continue to puff* and strut, moving with as much celerity as 
their ideas of ceremony seem to admit. While thus occupied, the males 
often encounter each other, in which case desperate battles take place, 


ending in bloodshed, and often in the loss of many lives, the weaker fall- 
ing vnider the repeated blows inflicted upon their head by the stronger. 

I have often been mucli diverted, while watching two males in fierce 
conflict, by seeing them move alternately backwards and forwards, as 
either had obtained a better hold, their wings drooping, their tails partly 
raised, their body-feathers ruffled, and their beads covered with blood. 
If, as they thus struggle, and gasp for breath, one of them should lose 
his hold, his chance is over, for the other, still holding fast, hits him vio- 
lently with spurs and wings, and in a few minutes brings him to the 
ground. The moment he is dead, the conqueror treads him under foot, 
but, what is strange, not with hatred, but with all the motions which he 
employs in caressing the female. 

When the male has discovered and made up to the female (whether 
such a combat has previously taken place or not), if she be more than 
one year old, she also struts and gobbles, turns round him as he con- 
tinues strutting, suddenly opens her wings, throws herself towards him, 
as if to put a stop to his idle delay, lays herself down, and receives his 
dilatory caresses. If the cock meet a young hen, he alters his mode of 
procedure. He struts in a different manner, less pompously and more 
energetically, moves with rapidity, sometimes rises from the ground, tak- 
ing a short flight around the hen, as is the manner of some Pigeons, the 
Red-breasted Thrush, and many other birds, and on alighting, runs with 
all his might, at the same time rubbing his tail and wings along the 
ground, for the space of perhaps ten yards. He then draws near the 
timorous female, allays her fears by purring, and when she at length 
assents, caresses her. 

When a male and a female have thus come together, I believe the con- 
nexion continues for that season, although the former by no means con- 
fines his attentions to one female, as I have seen a cock caress several 
hens, when he happened to fall in with them in the same place, for the 
first time. After this the hens follow their favourite cock, roosting in 
his immediate neighbourhood, if not on the same tree, until they begin 
to lay, when they separate themselves, in order to save their eggs from 
the male, who would break them all, for the purpose of protracting his 
sexual enjoyments. The females then carefully avoid him, excepting 
during a short period each day. After this the males become clumsy 
and slovenly, if one may say so, cease to fight with each other, give up 
gobbling or calling so frequently, and assume so careless a habit, that 


tlie hens ai'e obliged to make all the advances themselves. They yelp 
loudly and almost continually for the cocks, run up to them, caress them, 
and employ various means to rekindle their expiring ardour. 

Turkey-cocks when at roost sometimes strut and gobble, but I have 
more generally seen them spread out and raise their tail, and emit the 
pulmonic pufF, lowering their tail and other feathers immediately after. 
During clear nights, or when there is moonshine, they perform this 
action at intervals of a few minutes, for hours together, without moving 
from the same spot, and indeed sometimes without rising on their legs, 
especially towards the end of the love-season. The males now become 
greatly emaciated, and cease to gobble, their hreast-sponge becoming flat. 
They then separate from the hens, and one might suppose that they had 
entirely deserted their neighbourhood. At such seasons I have found 
them lying by the side of a log, in some retired part of the dense woods 
and cane thickets, and often permitting one to approach within a few 
feet. They are then unable to fly, but run swiftly, and to a great dis- 
tance. A slow turkey-hound has led me miles before I could flush the 
same bird. Chases of this kind I did not undertake for the purpose of 
killing the bird, it being then unfit for eating, and covered with ticks, 
but with the view of rendering myself acquainted with its habits. They 
thus retire to recover flesh and strength, by purging Avith particular spe- 
cies of grass, and using less exercise. As soon as their condition is im- 
proved, the cocks come together again, and recommence their rambles. 
Let us now return to the females. 

About the middle of April, when the season is dry, the hens begin to 
look out for a place in which to deposit their eggs. This place requires 
to be as much as possible concealed from the eye of the Qrow, as that bird 
often watches the Turkey when going to her nest, and, waiting in tlie 
neighbourhood until she has left it, removes and eats the eggs. The nest, 
which consists of a few withered leaves, is placed on the ground, in a hol- 
low scooped out, by the side of a log, or in the fallen top of a dry leafy 
tree, under a thicket of sumach or briars, or a few feet within the edge of 
a cane-brake, but always in a dry place. The eggs, which are of a dull 
cream colour, sprinkled with red dots, sometimes amount to twenty, al- 
though the more usual number is from ten to fifteen. When depositing her 
eggs, the female always approaches the nest with extreme caution, scarcely 
ever taking the same course twice ; and when about to leavt them, covers 
them carefully with leaves, so that it is ver ' difficult for a person who 


may have seen the bird to discover the nest. Indeed, few Turkeys' nests 
are found, unless the female has been suddenly started from them, or a 
cunning Lynx, Fox, or Crow has sucked the eggs and left their shells scat- 
tered about. 

Turkey hens not unfrequently prefer islands for depositing their eggs 
and rearing their young, probably because such places are less frequented 
by hunters, and because the great masses of drifted timber which usually 
accumulate at their heads, may protect and save them in cases of great 
emergency. When I have found these birds in svich situations, and with 
young, I have always observed that a single discharge of a gun made 
them run immediately to the pile of drifted wood, and conceal themselves 
in it. I have often walked over these masses, which are frequently from 
ten to twenty feet in height, in search of the game which I knew to be 
concealed in them. 

When an enemy passes within sight of a female, while laying or sit- 
ting, she never moves, unless she knows that she has been discovered, 
but crouches lower untU he has passed. I have frequently approached 
within five or six paces of a nest, of which I was previously aware, on 
assuming an air of carelessness, and wliistling or talking to myself, the 
female remaining undisturbed ; whereas if I went cautiously towards it, 
she would never suffer me to approach within twenty paces, but would run 
off, with her tail spread on one side, to a distance of twenty or thirty 
yards, when assuming a stately gait, she would walk about deliberately, 
uttering every now and then a cluck. They seldom abandon their nest, 
'when it has been discovered by men ; but, I believe, never go near it 
again, when a snake or other animal has sucked any of the eggs. If the 
eggs have been destroyed or carried oflp, the female soon yelps again for 
a male ; but, in general, she rears only a single brood each season. 
Several hens sometimes associate together. I believe for their mutual 
safety, deposit their eggs in the same nest, and rear their broods toge- 
ther. I once found three sitting on forty-two eggs. In such cases, the 
Common nest is always watched by one of the females, so that no Crow, 
Raven, or perhaps even Pole-cat, dares approach it. 

The mother will not leave her eggs, when near hatching, under any 
circumstances, while life remains. She will even allow an enclosure to 
be made around her, and thus suffer imprisonment, rather than abandon 
them. I once witnessed the hatching of a brood of Turkeys, which I 
v,atched for the purpose of securing them together with the parent. I 


concealed myself on the ground within a very few feet, and saw her raise 
herself half the length of her legs, look anxiously upon the eggs, cluck 
with a sound peculiar to the mother on such occasions, carefully remove 
each half-empty shell, and with her bill caress and dry the young birds, 
that already stood tottering and attempting to make their way out of the 
nest. Yes, I have seen this, and have left mother and young to better 
care than mine could have proved, — to the care of their Creator and 
mine. I have seen them all emerge from the shell, and, in a few moments 
after, tumble, roU, and push each other forward, with astonishing and 
inscrutable instinct. 

Before leaving the nest with her young brood, the mother shakes her- 
self in a violent manner, picks and adjusts the feathers about her belly, 
and assumes quite a different aspect. She alternately inclines her eyes 
obliquely upwards and sideways, stretching out her neck, to discover 
hawks or other enemies, spreads her wings a little as she walks, and 
softly clucks to keep her innocent offspring close to her. They move 
slowly along, and as the hatching generally takes place in the afternoon, 
they frequently return to the nest to spend the first night there. After 
this, they remove to some distance, keeping on the highest undulated 
grounds, the mother dreading rainy weather, which is extremely danger- 
ous to the young, in this tender state, when they are only covered by a 
kind of soft hairy down, of surprising delicacy. In very rainy seasons. 
Turkeys are scarce, for if once completely wetted, the young seldom 
recover. To prevent the disastrous effects of rainy weather, the mother, 
like a skilful physician, plucks the buds of the spice-wood bush, and gives 
them to her young. 

In about a fortnight, the young birds, which had previously rested on 
the ground, leave it and fly, at night, to some very large low branch, 
where they place themselves under the deeply curved wings of their kind 
and careful parent, dividing themselves for that purpose into two nearly 
e({ual parties. After this, they leave the woods during the day, and ap- 
proach the natural glades or prairies, in search of strawberries, and sub- 
sequently of dewberries, blackberries and grasshoppers, thus obtaining 
abundant food, and enjoying the beneficial influence of the sun's rays. 
They roll themselves in deserted ants' nests, to clear their growing fea- 
thers of the loose scales, and prevent ticks and other vermin from attack- 
ing them, these insects being unable to bear the odour of the earth in 
which ants have been. 


The young Turkeys now advance rapidly in growth, and in the 
month of August are able to secure themselves from unexpected attacks 
of Wolves, Foxes, Lynxes, and even Cougars, by rising quickly from the 
ground, by the help of their powerful legs, and reaching with ease the 
highest branches of the tallest trees. The young cocks shew the tuft on 
the breast about this time, and begin to gobble and strut, while the 
young hens pur and leap, in the manner which I have already de- 

The old cocks have also assembled by this time, and it is probable 
that all the Turkeys now leave the extreme north-western districts, to 
remove to the Wabash, Illinois, Black River, and the neighbourhood of 
Lake Erie. 

Of the numerous enemies of the Wild Turkey, the most formidable, ex- 
cepting man, are the Lynx, the Snowy Owl, and the Virginian Owl. The 
Lynx sucks their eggs, and is extremely expert at seizing both young 
and old, which he effects in the following manner. When he has dis- 
covered a flock of Turkeys, he follows them at a distance for some time, 
until he ascertains the direction in which they are proceeding. He then 
makes a rapid circular movement, gets in advance of the flock, and lays 
himself down in ambush, until the birds come up, when he springs upon 
one of them by a single bound, and secures it. While once sitting in 
the woods, on the banks of the Wabash, I observed two large Turkey- 
cocks on a log, by the river, pluming and picking themselves. I watch- 
ed their movements for a while, when of a sudden one of them flew across 
the river, while I perceived the other struggling under the grasp of a 
lynx. When attacked by the two large species of Owl above mention- 
ed, they often effect their escape in a way which is somewhat remark- 
able. As Turkeys usually roost in flocks, on naked branches of trees, 
they are easily discovered by their enemies, the owls, which, on silent 
wing, approach and hover around them, for the purpose of reconnoitring. 
This, however, is rarely done withovit being discovered, and a single 
clucJc from one of the Turkeys announces to the whole party the approach 
of the murderer. They instantly start upon their legs, and watch the 
motions of the Owl, which, selecting one as its victim, comes down upon 
it like an arrow, and would inevitably secure the Turkey, did not the 
latter at that moment lower its head, stoop, and spread its tail in an in- 
verted manner over its back, by which action the aggressor is met by a 
smooth inclined plane, along which it glances without hurting the Tur- 


key ; innnediately after which the latter drops to the ground, and thus 
escapes, merely with the loss of a few feathers. 

The Wild Turkeys cannot be said to confine themselves to any parti- 
cular kind of food, although they seem to prefer the pecan-nut and win- 
ter-grape to any other, and, where these fruits abound, are found in the 
greatest numbers. They eat grass and herbs of various kinds, corn, 
berries, and fruit of all descriptions. I have even found beetles, tad- 
poles, and small lizards in their crops. 

Turkeys are now generally extremely shy, and the moment they ob- 
serve a man, whether of the red or white race, instinctively move from 
him. Their usual mode of progression is what is termed walking, du- 
ring which they frequently open each wing partially and successively, re- 
placing them again by folding them over each other, as if their weight 
were too great. Then, as if to amuse themselves, they will run a few 
steps, open both wings and fan their sides, in the manner of the common 
fowl, and often take two or three leaps in the air and shake themselves. 
Whilst searching for food among the leaves or loose soil, they keep their 
head up, and are unremittingly on the lookout ; but as the legs and feet 
finish the operation, they are immediately seen to pick up the food, the 
presence of which, I suspect, is frequently indicated to them through the 
sense of touch in their feet, during the act of scratching. This habit of 
scratching and removing the dried leaves in the woods, is pernicious to 
their safety, as the spots which they thus clear, being about two feet in 
diameter, are seen at a distance, and, if fresh, shew that the birds are in 
the vicinity. During the summer months they resort to the paths or 
roads, as well as the ploughed fields, for the purpose of rolling them- 
selves in the dust, by which means they clear their bodies of the ticks 
which at that season infest them, as well as free themselves of the mos- 
chettoes, which greatly annoy them, by biting their heads. 

When, after a heavy fall of snow, the weather becomes frosty, so as to 
form a hard crust on the surface, the Turkeys remain on their roosts for 
three or four days, sometimes much longer, which proves their capability 
of continued abstinence. When near farms, however, they leave the 
roosts, and go into the very stables and about the stacks of corn, to pro- 
cure food. During melting snow-falls, they will travel to an extraordi- 
nary distance, and are then followed in vain, it being impossible for 
hunters of any description to keep up with them. They have then a 
dangling and straggling way of rumiing, which, awkward as it may seem. 


enables them to outstrip any other animal. I have often, when on a 
good horse, been obliged to abandon the attempt to put them up, after 
following them for several hours. This habit of continued running, in 
rainy or very damp weather of any kind, is not peculiar to the Wild 
Turkey, but is common to all gallinaceous birds. In America, the dif- 
ferent species of Grouse exhibit the same tendency. 

In spring, when the males are much emaciated, in consequence of their 
attentions to the females, it sometimes happens that, on plain and open 
ground, they may be overtaken by a swift dog, in which case they squat, 
and allow themselves to be seized, either by the dog, or the hunter who 
has followed on a good horse. I have heard of such occurrences, but 
never had the pleasure of seeing an instance of them. 

Good dogs scent the Turkeys, when in large flocks, at extraordinary 
distances, — I think I may venture to say half a mile. Should the dog 
be well trained to this sport, he sets off at full speed, and in silence, un- 
til he sees the birds, when he instantly barks, and pusliing as much as 
possible into the centre of the flock, forces the whole to take wing in dif- 
ferent directions. This is of great advantage to the hunter, for should 
the Turkeys all go one way, they would soon leave their perches and 
run again. But when they separate in this manner, and the weather hap- 
pens to be calm and loAvering, a person accustomed to this kind of sport 
finds the birds with ease, and shoots them at pleasure. 

When Turkeys alight on a tree, it is sometimes very difficult to see 
them, which is owing to their standing perfectly motionless. Should you 
discover one, when it is down on its legs upon the branch, you may ap- 
proach it with less care. But if it is standing erect, the greatest precau- 
tion is necessary, for should it discover you, it instantly flies off", fre- 
quently to such a distance that it would be vain to follow. 

When a Turkey is merely winged by a shot, it falls quickly to the 
ground in a slanting direction. Then, instead of losing time by tum- 
bhng and rolling over, as other birds often do when wounded, it runs 
off at such a rate, that unless the hunter be provided with a swift 
dog, he may bid farewell to it. I recollect coming on one shot in this 
manner, more than a mile from the tree where it had been perched, my 
dog having traced it to this distance, through one of those thick cane- 
brakes that cover many portions of our rich alluvial lands near the banks 
of our western rivers. Turkeys are easily killed if shot in the head, the 
neck, or the upper part of the breast ; but if hit in the hind parts only, 


they often fly so far as to be lost to the hunter. During winter many of 
our real hunters shoot them by moonlight, on the roosts, where these birds 
will frequently stand a repetition of the reports of a rifle, although they 
would fly from the attack of an owl, or even perhaps from his presence. 
Thus sometimes nearly a whole flock is secured by men capable of using 
these guns in such circumstances. They are often destroyed in great 
numbers when most worthless, that is, early in the fall or autumn, when 
many are killed in their attempt to cross the rivers, or immediately after 
they reach the shore. 

Whilst speaking of the shooting of Turkeys, I feel no hesitation irfre- 
lating the following occurrence, which happened to myself. While in 
search of game, one afternoon late in autumn, when the males go toge- 
ther, and the females are by themselves also, I heard the clucking of one 
of the latter, and immediately finding her perched on a fence, made to- 
wards her. Advancing slowly and cautiously, I heard the yelping notes 
of some gobblers, when I stopped and listened in order to ascertain the 
direction in which they came. I then ran to meet the birds, hid myself 
by the side of a large fallen tree, cocked my gun, and waited with im- 
patience for a good opportunity. The gobblers continued yelping in 
answer to the female, which all this while remained on the fence. I 
looked over the log and saw about thirty fine cocks advancing rather 
cavitiously towards the very spot where I lay concealed. They came so 
near that the light in their eyes could easily be perceived, when I fired one 
barrel, and killed three. The rest, instead of flying off, fell a strutting 
around their dead companions, and had I not looked on shooting again 
as murder without necessity, I might have secured at least another. So 
I shewed myself, and marcliing to the place where the dead birds were, 
drove away the survivors. I may also mention, that a friend of mine 
shot a fine hen, from his horse, with a pistol, as the poor thing was 
probably returning to her nest to lay. 

Should you, good-natured reader, be a sportsman, and now and then 
have been fortunate in the exercise of your craft, the following incident, 
which I shall relate to you as I had it from the mouth of an honest 
farmer, may prove interesting. Turkeys were very abundant in his 
neighbourhood, and, resorting to his corn fields, at the period when the 
maize had just shot up from the ground, destroyed great quantities of it. 
This induced him to swear vengeance against the species. He cut a long 
trench in a favourable situation, put a great quantity of corn in it, and 


having heavily loaded a famous duck gun of his, placed it so as that he 
could pull the trigger by means of a string, when quite concealed from 
the birds. The Turkeys soon discovered the corn in the trench, and 
quickly disposed of it, at the same time continuing t"heir ravages in the 
fields. He filled the trench again, and one day seeing it quite black with 
the Turkeys, whistled loudly, on which all the birds raised their heads, 
when he pulled the trigger by the long string fastened to it. The ex- 
plosion followed of course, and the Turkeys were seen scampering oflF in 
all directions, in utter discomfiture and dismay. On running to the trench, 
he found nine of them extended in it. The rest did not consider it ex- 
pedient to visit his corn again for that season. 

During spring, Turkeys are called^ as it is termed, by drawing the air 
in a particular way through one of the second joint bones of a wing of 
that bird, which produces a sound resembling the voice of the female, on 
hearing which the male comes up, and is shot. In managing this, how- 
ever, no fault must be committed, for Turkeys are quick in distinguish- 
ing counterfeit sounds, and when half civilized are very wary and cun- 
ning. I have known many to answer to this kind of call, without mov- 
ing a step, and thus entirely defeat the scheme of the hunter, who dared 
not move from his hiding-place, lest a single glance of the gobbler's eye 
should frustrate all further attempts to decoy him. Many are shot when 
at roost, in this season, by answering with a rolling gobble to a sound in 
imitation of the cry of the Barred Owl. 

But the most common method of procuring Wild Turkeys, is by means 
of pens. These are placed in parts of the woods where Turkeys have 
been frequently observed to roost, and are constructed in the following 
manner. Young trees of four or five inches diameter are cut down, and 
divided into pieces of the length of twelve or fourteen feet. Two of these 
are laid on the ground parallel to each other, at a distance of ten or 
twelve feet. Two other pieces are laid across the ends of these, at right 
angles to them ; and in this manner successive layers are added, until 
the fabric is raised to the height of about four feet. It is then covered 
with similar pieces of wood, placed three or four inches apart, and loaded 
with one or two heavy logs to render the whole firm. This done, a trench 
about eighteen inches in depth and width is cut under one side of the 
cage, into which it opens slantingly and rather abruptly. It is continued 
on its outside to some distance, so as gradually to attain the level of the 
surrounding ground. Over the part of this trench within the pen, and 


close to the wall, some sticks are placed so as to form a kind of bridge 
about a foot in breadth. The trap being now finished, the owner places 
a quantity of Indian corn in its centre, as weU as in the trench, and as he 
walks off drops here and there a few grains in the woods, sometimes to 
the distance of a mile. This is repeated at every visit to the trap, after the 
Turkeys have found it. Sometimes two trenches are cut, in which case 
the trenches enter on opposite sides of the trap, and are both strewn with 
corn. No sooner has a Turkey discovered the train of corn, than it com- 
municates the circumstance to the flock by a duck, when all of them come 
up, and searching for the grains scattered about, at length come upon the 
trench, which they follow, squeezing themselves one after another through 
the passage under the bridge. In this manner the whole flock sometimes 
enters, but more commonly six or seven only, as they are alarmed by the 
least noise, even the cracking of a tree in frosty weather. Those within, 
having gorged themselves, raise their heads, and try to force their way 
through the top or sides of the pen, passing and repassing on the bridge, 
but never for a moment looking down, or attempting to escape through 
the passage by which they entered. Tlius they remain until the owner 
of the trap arriving, closes the trench, and secures his captives. I have 
heard of eighteen Turkeys having been caught in this manner at a single 
visit to the trap. I have had many of these pens myself, but never found 
more than seven in them at a time. One winter I kept an account of 
the produce of a pen which I visited daily, and found that seventy-six 
had been caught in it, in about two months. When these birds are 
abundant, the owners of the pens sometimes become satiated with their 
flesh, and neglect to visit the pens for several days, in some cases for weeks. 
The poor captives thus perish for want of food ; for, strange as it may 
seem, they scarcely ever regain their liberty, by descending into the 
trench, and retracing their steps. I have, more than once, found four 
or five, and even ten, dead in a pen, through inattention. Where 
Wolves or Lynxes are numerous, they are apt to secure the prize before 
the owner of the trap arrives. One morning, I had the pleasure of se- 
curing in one of my pens, a fine Black Wolf, which, on seeing me, squatted, 
supposing me to be passing in another direction. 

Wild Turkeys often approach and associate with tame ones, or fight 
with them, and drive them off from their food. The cocks sometimes 
pay their addresses to the domesticated females, and are generally re- 
ceived by them with great pleasure, as well as by their owners, who are 


well aware of the advantages resulting from such intrusions, the half- 
breed being much more hardy than the tame, and, consequently, more 
easily reared. 

While at Henderson, on the Ohio, I had, among many other wild 
birds, a fine male Turkey, which had been reared from its earliest youth 
under my care, it having been caught by me when probably not more than 
two or three days old. It became so tame that it wovdd follow any person 
who called it, and was the favourite of the little village. Yet it would never 
roost with the tame Turkeys, but regularly betook itself at night to the roof 
of the house, M'here it remained until dawi. When two years old, it be- 
o-an to fly to the woods, where it remained for a considerable part of the 
day, to return to the enclosure as night approached. It continued this 
practice until the following spring, when I saw it several times fly from 
its roosting place to the top of a high cotton- tree, on the bank of the 
Ohio, from which, after resting a little, it would sail to the opposite shore, 
the river being there nearly half a mile wide, and return towards night. 
One morning I saw it fly off, at a very early hour, to the woods, in ano- 
ther direction, and took no particular notice of the circumstance. Several 
days elapsed, but the bird did not return. I was going towards some 
lakes near Green River to shoot, when, having walked about five miles, 
I saw a fine large gobbler cross the path before me, moving leisurely along. 
Turkeys being then in prime condition for the table, I ordered my dog 
to chase it, and put it up. The animal went off with great rapidity, and 
as it approached the Turkey, I saw, with great surprise, that the latter 
paid httle attention. Juno was on the point of seizing it, when she 
suddenly stopped, and turned her head towards me. I hastened to them, 
but you may easily conceive my surprise when I saw my own favourite 
bird, and discovered that it had recognised the dog, and would not fly 
from it ; although the sight of a strange dog would have caused it to run 
off at once. A friend of mine happening to be in search of a wounded 
deer, took the bird on his saddle before him, and carried it home for me. 
The following spring it was accidentally shot, having been taken for a 
wild bird, and brought to me on being recognised by the red ribbon 
which it had around its neck. Pray, reader, by what word will you de- 
signate the recognition made by my favourite Turkey of a dog which had 
been long associated with it in the yard and grounds ? Was it the re- 
sult of instinct, or of reason, — an unconsciously revived impression, c* 
the act of an intelligent mind ? 


At the time when I removed to Kentucky, rather more than a fourth 
of a century ago, Turkeys were so abundant, that the price of one in the 
market was not equal to that of a common barn-fowl now. I have seen 
them offered for the sum of three pence each, the birds weighing from 
ten to twelve pounds. A first-rate Turkey, weighing from twenty-five 
to thirty pounds avoirdupois, Avas considered well sold when it brought 
a quarter of a dollar. 

The weight of Turkey hens generally averages about nine pounds 
avoirdupois. I have, however, shot barren hens in strawberry season, 
that weighed thirteen pounds, and have seen a few so fat as to burst open 
on falling from a tree when shot. Male Turkeys differ more in their bulk 
and weight. From fifteen to eighteen pounds may be a fair estimate of 
their ordinary weight. I saw one offered for sale in the Louisville mar- 
ket, that weighed thirty-six pounds. Its pectoral appendage measured 
upwards of a foot. . 

Some closet naturalists suppose the hen Turkey to be destitute of the 
appendage on the breast, but this is not the case in the full-grown bird. 
The young males, as I have said, at the approach of the first winter, have 
merely a kind of protuberance in the flesh at this part, while the young 
females of the same age have no such appearance. The second year, the 
males are to be distinguished by the hairy tuft, which is about four 
inches long, whereas in the females that are not barren, it is yet hardly ap- 
parent. The third year, the male Turkey may be said to be adult, al- 
though it certainly increases in weight and size for several years more. 
The females at the age of four are in full beauty, and have the pectoral 
appendage four or five inches long, but thinner than in the male. The 
barren hens do not acquire it until they are very old. 1 he experienced 
hunter knows them at once in the flock, and shoots them by preference. 
The great number of young hens destitute of the appendage in question, 
has doubtless given rise to the idea that it is wanting in the female 

The long downy double feathers * about the thighs and on the lower 
parts of the sides of the Wild Turkey, are often used for making tippets. 

" The peculiarities in the structure of the plumage of different species of birds might, 
if duly attended to, prove of essential service to the systematic ornithologist, as conducing, 
along witli other circ\imstances, to the elucidation of the natural affinities of bu-ds. On 
this subject, I would refer the system-makers to the valuable observations of Mr Mac- 
GILI.IVRAY in the Edinburgh New Philosophical Journal for lfs28. 


by the wives of our squatters and farmers. These tippets, when properly 
made, are extremely beautiful as well as comfortable. 

A long account of the habits of this remarkable bird has already been 
given in Bonaparte's American Ornithology, vol. i. As that account was 
in a great measure derived from notes furnished by myself, you need not 
be surprised, good reader, to find it often in accordance with the above. 

Having now said all that I have thought it might be agreeable to you 
to know of the history and habits of the Wild Turkey, I proceed to the 
technical description of that interesting bird. 

Meleagris Gallopavo, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 268 — Lath. Iiid. Ornith. p. 618. 

— Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 122. 
Wild Tuhkey, Ch. Bonaparte, Americ. Ornith. vol. i. p. 79. PI- ix. Male and 

AiiEniCAjf Turkey, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. G^6. 

: Adult Male. Plate I. 

Bill shortish, robust, slightly arched, rather obtuse, the base covered 
by a bare membrane ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline arched, 
the sides convex, the edges overlapping, the tip a little declinate ; under 
mandible somewhat bulging towards the tip, the sides convex. Nostrils 
situated in the basal membrane, oblique, linear, covered above by a carti- 
lage. Head small, flattened above, with a conical pendulous, erectile 
caruncle on the forehead. Neck slender. Body robust. Feet longish 
and strong ; tarsus covered anteriorly with numerous transverse scutella, 
scaly on the sides, scutellate behind ; toes scutellate above, scabrous, 
papillar and flat beneath ; hind toe elevated, half the length of the lateral 
toes, which are nearly equal, and much shorter than the middle toe ; 
claws slightly arched, strong, convex above, obtuse, flat beneath. A 
conical, rather obtuse spur on the tarsus, about two-thirds down. 

Conical papilla of the forehead rugose, sparsely covered with bristles. 
Head bare, and corrugated, the skin irregularly raised, and covered with 
a few scattered bristles. External ear margined with short and slender 
thin feathers. Neck also bare, corrugated, beset anteriorly and below 
with a series of oblong, irregular, cavernous caruncles, interspersed with 
small bristly feathers. Plumage in general compact, glossy, with metallic 
reflections. Feathers double, as in other gallinaceous birds, generally 
oblong and truncated. A pendulous tuft of long bristles from the upper 


part of the breast. Wings shortish, convex, rounded, the fourth and 
fifth quills longest. Tail rather long, ample, rounded, consisting of 
eighteen broad rounded feathers ; capable of being erected and expanded 
in a permanent manner, when the bird is excited, and reaching nearly 
to the ground, when the bird stands erect. 

Bill yellowish-brown. Frontal caruncle blue and red. Rugose and 
carunculated skin of the head and neck of various tints of blue and 
purple, the pendulous anterior caruncles of the latter, or the wattles, 
bright red, changing to blue. Iris hazel. Legs and toes bright piu-plish- 
red ; claws brown. Upper part of the back and wings brownish-yellow, 
with metallic lustre, changing to deep purple, the truncated tips of the 
feathers broadly margined \vith velvet-black. On the middle and lower 
back, the black terminal bands of the feathers almost conceal the bronze 
colour. The large quill-coverts are of the same colour as the back, but 
more bronzed, with purple reflections. Quills bro^vnish-black, the pri- 
maries banded with greyish-white, the secondaries with bro\vnish-white, 
gradually becoming deeper towards the proximal feathers, which are 
similar to the coverts. The lower part of the back and the tail-coverts 
are deep chestnut, banded ^vith green and black. The tail-feathers are 
of the same colour, vmdulatingly barred and minutely sprinkled with 
black, and having a broad blackish bar towards the tip, which is pale 
brown and minutely mottled. The under parts are duller. Breast of 
the same colours as the back, the terminal black band not so broad ; 
sides dark-coloured ; abdomen and thighs brownish-grey ; under tail- 
coverts blackish, glossed with bronze, and at the tip bright reddish- 

Length 4 feet 1 inch, extent of wings 5 feet 8 inches ; beak 1^ inches 
along the ridge, 2 along the gap ; tarsus 7j ; middle toe 5, hind toe 2 ; 
pectoral appendage 1 foot. Such were the dimensions of the individual 
represented in the plate, which, I need not say, was a fine specimen. 

( 18 ) 


PLATE II. Male and Female. 

Were I inclined, like many persons who write on Natural History, to 
criticise the figures given by other students, I should find enough to be 
censured ; but as my object is simply to communicate the result of studies 
to which I have devoted the greater part of my life, I shall content myself 
with merely recommending to those intent on the advancement of that 
most interesting science, to bestow a little more care on their representar- 
tions of the bills, legs and feet of the species which they bring into 
notice, and let it be seen that they indeed borrow from nature. 

From Nature f — How often are these Avords used, when at a glance he 
who has seen the perfect and beautiful forms of birds, quadrupeds or 
other objects, as they have come from the hand of Nature, discovers that 
the representation is not that of living Nature I But I am deviating 
from the track which I wish to follow, my desire being simply to give 
you an opportunity, good reader, of judging for yourself as to the truth 
of my dehneations, and to present you with the results of my observations 
made in those very woods where the subjects have been found and de- 

The flight of the bird now before you is rapid, silent, and horizontal, 
as it moves from one tree to another, or across a field or river, and is 
generally continued amongst the branches of the trees in our woods. 
When making its way among the branches, it occasionally inclines the 
body to either side, so as alternately to shew its whole upper or under 
parts. During its southward migration, it flies high in the air, and in 
such loose flocks that the birds might seem to follow each other, instead of 
their keeping company together. On the other hand, early in March, 
the greater number enter our southern boundaries singly, the males 
arriving first, and the females a few weeks after. They do not fly in a 
continued line, but in a broad front, as, while travelHng with great ra- 
pidity in a steam-boat, so as to include a range of a hundred miles in one 
day, I have observed this Cuckoo crossing the Mississippi at many dif- 
ferent points on the same day. At this season, they resort to the deepest 


shades of the forests, and intimate their presence by the frequent repeti- 
tion of their dull and unmusical notes, which are not vmlike those of the 
young Bull-Frog. These notes may be represented by the word cow^ 
coxo, repeated eight or ten times with increasing rapidity. In fact, from 
the resemblance of its notes to that word, this Cuckoo is named Cow 
Bird in nearly every part of the Union. The Dutch farmers of Penn- 
sylvania know it better by the name of Rain Crow, and in Louisiana 
the French settlers call it Coitcou. 

It robs smaller birds of their eggs, which it sucks on aU occasions, and 
is cowardly and shy, without being vigilant. On this latter account, it 
often falls a prey to several species of Hawks, of which the Pigeon 
Hawk {Falco columbarms) may be considered as its most dangerous 
enemy. It prefers the Southern States for its residence, and when very 
mild winters occur in Louisiana, some individuals remain there, not find- 
ing it necessary to go farther south. 

This bird is not abundant anywhere, and yet is found very far north. 
I have met with it in all the low grounds and damp places in Massachu- 
sets, along the line of Upper Canada, pretty high on the Mississippi and 
Arkansas, and in every state between these boundary lines. Its appear- 
ance in the State of New York seldom takes place before the beginning 
of May, and at Green Bay not until the middle of that month. A pair 
here and there seem to appropriate certain tracts to themselves, where 
they rear their young in the midst of peace and plenty. They feed on 
insects, such as caterpillars and butterflies, as well as on berries of many 
kinds, evincing a special predilection for the mulberry. In autumn they 
eat many grapes, and I have seen them supporting themselves by a mo- 
mentary motion of their wings opposite a bunch, as if selecting the ripest, 
when they would seize it and return to a branch, repeating their visits in 
this manner until satiated. They now and then descend to the ground, 
to pick up a wood-snail or a beetle. They are extremely awkward at 
walking, and move in an ambUng manner, or leap along sidewise, for 
which the shortness of their legs is ample excuse. They are seldom seen 
perched conspicuously on a twig, but on the contrary are generally to be 
found amongst the thickest boughs and foliage, where they emit their 
notes until late in autumn, at which time they discontinue them. 

The nest is simple, flat, composed of a few dry sticks and grass, form- 
ed much like that of the Common Dove, and, like it, fastened to a hoi-i- 

zontal branch, often within the reach of man, who seldom disturbs it. 

B 2 


It makes no particular selection as to situation or the nature of the tree, 
but settles any where indiscriminately. The eggs are four or five, of a 
rather elongated oval form, and bright green colour. They rear only one 
brood in a season, unless the eggs are removed or destroyed. The young 
are principally fed with insects during the first weeks. Towards autumn 
they become very fat, and are fit for being eaten, although few persons; 
excepting the Creoles of Louisiana, shoot them for the table. 

The branch, among the foliage of wliich you see the male and female 
winging their way, is one of the Papaw, a tree of small size, seldom more 
than from twenty to tliirty feet in height, with a diameter of from' 
three to seven inches. It is found growing in all rich grounds, to which 
it is peculiar, from the southern line of our States to central Pennsylva- 
nia, seldom farther eastward, liere and there only along the alluvial 
shores of the Ohio and Mississippi. In all other places of like nature 
you may meet with groves of Papaw trees, covering an acre or more of 
ground. The fruit, which is represented in the plate, consists of a pulpy 
and insipid sulistance, within which are found several large, hard, and 
glossy seeds. The rind is extremely thin. The wood is light, soft^ 
brittle, and almost useless. The bark, which is smooth, may be torn off 
from the foot of the tree to the very top, and is frequently used for mak- 
ing ropes, after it has been steeped in water sufficiently to detach the 
outer part, when the fibres are obtained, which, when twisted, are found 
to be nearly as tough and durable as hemp. Tlie numerous islands of 
the Oliio and all the other western rivers are generally well stocked with 
this tree. : 

CoccYZtrs AMEttiCANUS, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds iif the Uniled States, p. 42. 
CucuLUS AMEBICANUS, Ltnti. Syst. Nat. vol i. p. 170 — Lutli. Iiui. Oniith. vol. i. p.21!). 
Cakolina Cuckoo, Lath. Synopsis, voL ii. p. 527. 

Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Cuculus carolikensis. Wils. Aineric. Ornilh. vol. iv. 
p. 13. PI. 28. %. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate II. Fig. 1. 

Bill as long as the head, compressed, shghtly arched, acute, scarcely 
more robust than in many Sylviae ; upper mandible carinated above, its 
margins acute and entire ; lower mandible carinated beneath, acute. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, linear-elliptical, half closed by a membrane. Feet 
short ; tarsus scutellate before and behind ; toes two before, separated ; 


two behind, one of whicli is versatile, the sole flat ; claws slender, com- 
pressed, arched. 

Plumage blended, slightly glossed. Wings long, the first quill short, 
the third longest, the primaries tapering. Tail long, graduated, of ten 
feathers, which are rather narrow and rovmded. 

Upper mandible brownish-black, yellow on the margin towards the 
base ; under mandible yellow. Iris hazeL Feet greyish-blue. The ge- 
neral colour of the upper parts, including the wing-coverts and two 
middle tail-feathers, is light greenish-brown, deeper anteriorly. Primary 
quills with the inner webs brownish-orange. Tail-feathers, excepting the 
two middle ones, black, the next two entirely black, the rest broadly tip- 
ped with white, the outermost white on the outer web. The under parts 
are greyish-white. 

Length IS^ inches, extent of wings 16 ; bill along the ridge 1, along 
the gap 1 1. 

Adult Female. Plate II. Fig. 2. 

The female differs very little from the male in colouring. 

The Papaw Tree. 

PoRCELiA TRILOBA, Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 383. Anona triloba, Willd. Sp. 
PI. vol. ii. p. 1267. Mich. Arbr. Forest, de I'Amer. Sept. voL iii. p. 162. PI. 9. 

; ^— PoLYANDRlA PoLYGTNIA, Linn. AnOKjE, Juss, 

Leaves obovato-cuneate, acuminate, smoothish ; outer petals orbicu- 
late ; fruits oblong, large, and fleshy. The leaves are from six to ten 
inches long ; the flowers of a rich dark purple. 

( 22 ) 


Sylvia Protonotarius, Lath. 
PLATE III. Male and Female. 

I never saw this pretty bird in any of our eastern districts, and rarely 
farther up the Ohio than Louisville, in the neighbourhood of wliich place 
it rears its young. Louisiana seems in fact better suited to its habits 
than any other state, on account of its numerous lakes, creeks and lagoons, 
overshadowed by large trees, and which are favourite places of resort for 
this species. It is fond of flying over the water of these creeks and la- 
goons, and is seldom seen in the woods. Its flight is rapid, and more 
steady than is usual in birds of its genus ; and as it moves along, the 
brightness of its colours attracts the eye. On alighting, it moves rapidly 
along the twigs, partly sidewise, frequently turning about and extending 
its neck to look under the leaves, from which it picks various kinds of 
insects. It often perches upon the rank grasses and water plants, in 
quest of minute molluscous animals which creep upon them, and which, 
together with small land snails, I have found in its stomach. It does not 
perform sorties, or sally forth after flying insects, as many other Warblers 
are in the habit of doing. It has a few notes for its song, which possess 
no interest. The males, when chasing each other, keep up a creaking 
noise, until the little battle is over, when they perch and balance their 
body with much grace and livehness. 

I have observed their arrival in Louisiana to take place, according to 
the state of the weather, from the middle of March to the first of April. 
At Henderson, in Kentucky, they do not arrive until a month later. 
They remain until October, but, I am inclined to believe, rear only a sin- 
gle brood in a season. The nest is fixed in the fork of a small twig bend- 
ing over the water, and is constructed of slender grasses, soft mosses, and 
fine fibrous roots. The number of eggs is from four to six. I could 
never ascertain whether the male assists in incubation, as the difference 
of plumage in the sexes is not perceptible when the bird is at large, and 
indeed can hardly be traced when one has procured the male and the fe- 
male for comparison. It cannot be called a plentiful species. To search 


for them on the high lands, or at any considerable distance from the 
places mentioned, would prove quite useless. 

The plant on which you see these birds, grows in swampy places, but 
is extremely rare, and I have not been able to procure any scientific ap- 
pellation for it. In Louisiana, it is called the Caiie Vine. It bears a 
small white flower in clusters. The berries are bitter and nauseovis. The 
stem, which runs up and over trees, resembles that of other climbing 
plants, is extremely elastic, and as tough as a cord. The leaves, of which 
you see the form and colour, are also tough and thick. 

Sylvia Protonotarius, Lath. Ind. Oniith. vol. u. p. 542.— CA. Bonaparte, Synops. 

of Birds of the United States, p. 86. 
Prothonotary Warbler, Sylvia Protonotaeius, Wilson, Americ. Ornith. 

voL iii. p. 72- PI. xxiv. fig. 3. 

Adult Male. Plate III. Fig. 1. 

Bill nearly as long as the head, slender, tapering, nearly straight, as 
deep as broad at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half closed 
by a membrane. Head rather sniall. Neck short. Body rather slender. 
Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, 
covered anteriorly with a few scuteUa, the uppermost long : toes scutel- 
late above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, 
compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, tlie 
first and second quills longest. Tail nearly even, of twelve straight, 
rather narrow feathers. Bill brownish-black. Iris hazel. Feet and 
claws greyish-blue. Head aU round, neck and under parts generally, of 
a bright rich pure yellow, paler on the abdomen, and passing into white 
on the under tail-coverts. Fore part of the back and lesser wing-coverts 
yellowish-green. Lower back and wngs light greyish-blue. Inner webs 
of the quills blackish. Inner webs of the tail-feathers bluish-grey at the 
base, then white to near the tip, wliich is black, as well as the outer webs. 
The two middle feathers blackish, tinged with greyish-blue. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 8 J ; beak along the ridge -j^^, along 
the gap I ; tarsus \^. 

Adult Female. Plate III. Fig. 2. 

The differences which the female exhibits are so slight as scarcely to 
be describable, the tints being merely a little duller. 

( '24 ) 


Fringilla purpurea, Gmel. 

PLATE IV. Male and Female. 

From the beginning of November vmtil April, flocks of the Purple 
Finch, consisting of from six to twenty individuals, are seen throughout 
the whole of Louisiana and the adjoining States. They fly compactly, 
with an undulating motion, similar to that of the Common Greenfinch of 
Europe. They alight all at once, and after a moment of rest, and as if 
frightened, all take to wing again, make a circuit of no great extent, and 
return to the tree from which they had thus started, or settle upon one 
near it. Immediately after this, every individual is seen making its way 
toward the extremities of the branches, husking the buds with great 
tact, and eating their internal portion. In doing this, they hang like so 
many Titmice, or stretch out their necks to reach the buds below. Al- 
though they are quite friendly among themselves during their flight, or 
while sitting without looking after food, yet, when they are feeding, the 
moment one goes near another, it is strenuously warned to keep off" by 
certain unequivocal marks of displeasure, such as the erection of the 
feathers of the head and the opening of the mouth. Should this intima- 
tion be disregarded, the stronger or more daring of the two drives off' the 
other to a diff'erent part of the tree. They feed in this manner princi- 
pally in the morning, and afterwards retire to the interior of the woods. 
Towards sunset they reappear, fly about the skirts of the fields and 
along the woods, until, having made choice of a tree, they alight, and, as 
soon as each bird has chosen a situation, stand still, look about them, 
plume themselves, and make short sallies after flies and other insects, 
but without interfering with each other. They frequently utter a single 
rather mellow clink, and are seen occupied in this manner until near sun- 
set, when they again fly off" to the interior of the forest. I one night 
surprised a party of them roosting in a smaU holly tree, as I happened 
to be brusliing by it. In their consternation they suddenly started all 
together, and in the same direction, when, not knowing what birds they 
were, I shot at them and brought down two. 

It is remarkable that, at this season, males in full beauty of plumage 


are as numerous as during the summer months in far more northern 
parts, where they breed ; and you may see different gradations of plu- 
mage, from the dingy greenish-brown of the female and young to the 
richest tints of the oldest and handsomest male ; while along with these 
there are others which, by my habit of examining birds, I knew to be 
old, and which are of a yellowish-green, neither the colour of the young 
males, nor that of the females, but a mixture of aU. 

The song of the Purple Finch is sweet and continued, and I have en- 
joyed it much during the spring and summer months, in the mountain- 
ous parts of Pennsylvania, where it occasionally breeds, particularly 
about the Great Pine Forest, where, although I did not find any nests, 
I saw pairs of these birds flying about and feeding their young, which 
could not have been many days out, and were not fully fledged. The 
food which they carried to their young consisted of insects, small berries, 
and the juicy part of the cones of the spruce pine. 

They frequently associate with the Common Cross-bills, feeding on the 
same trees, and like them are at times fond of alighting against the mud 
used for closing the log-houses. They are seldom seen on the ground, 
although their motions there are by no means embarrassed. They are 
considered as destructive birds by some farmers, who accuse them of 
committing great depredations on the blossoms of their fruit-trees. T 
never observed this in Louisiana, where they remain long after the peach 
and pear trees are in full bloom. I have eaten many of them, and con- 
sider their flesh equal to that of any other small bird, excepting the Rice 
Bunting. ' . . . 

FaiNGiLi.A PuapuREA, Gmel. Syst. vol. i. p. 923 — Lath. Ind. Oriiith. vol. i. p. 446. 
Purple Finch, Fringilla purpurea, Wilson, Americ. Ornith. vol. i. p. 119, 
PI. 7, fig. 4. Adult Male ; and vol. v. p. 87, PL 42, fig. 3. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate IV. Fig. 1, 2. 

Bill shortish, robust, bulging, conical, acute ; upper mandible with 
its dorsal outline a little convex, under mandible with its outline also 
slightly convex, both broadly convex transversely, the edges straight to 
near the base, where they are a Uttle deflected. Nostrils basal, roundish, 
open, partially concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. Neck 
short, and thick. Body fuU. Legs of moderate size ; tarsus of the same 
length as the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a longitudinal plate 


above and a few transverse scutella below, posteriorly with an acutely 
angular longitudinal plate ; toes sou tell ate above, free, the lateral ones 
nearly equal ; claws slender, arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind 
toe not much larger. 

Plumage compact above, blended beneath, wings of moderate length, 
third and fourth primaries longest, second and first very little shorter. 
Tail forked. The lateral feathers curved outwards toward the tip. 
.. Bill deep brown above, paler and tinged with blue beneath. Iris 
blackish-brown. Feet and claws brown. Head, neck, breast, back, and 
upper tail-coverts of a rich deep lake, approaching to crimson on the 
head and neck, and fading into rose-colour on the belly. Fore part of 
the back streaked with brown. Quills and larger coverts deep brown, 
margined externally and tipped with red. Tail feathers deep brown, 
similarly margined. A narrow band of cream-colour across the fore- 
head margining the base of the upper mandible. 

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 9, beak along the ridge ^^, along 
the gap j^'g, tarsus f. 

Female. Plate IV. Fig. 3. 

The young bird so closely resembles the adult female, that the same 
description will answer for both. The general colour of the upper parts 
is brownish-olive, streaked with dark brown. There is a broadish white 
line over the eye, and another from the commissure of the gap back- 
wards. The under parts are greyish white, the sides streaked with brown. 
The quiUs and tail-feathers are dark brown, margined with olive. 

The Red Larch. 

Laeix amebicajja, Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 645. Mich. Arbr. Forest, de TAnier. 
Sept. vol. iii. p. 137. I*!- 4. — Monoecia Polyandria, Linn. Conifers, Juss. 

•'This species of larch, which is distinguished by its short, deciduous, 
fasciculate leaves, and short ovate cones, occurs in the more northern 
parts of the United States, and in the mountainous regions of the mid- 
dle states. It attains a height of sixty feet, and a diameter sometimes of 
two feet. The wood is highly esteemed on account of its excellent qua- 

( 27 ) 

PLATE V. Male. 

Whilst I have the pleasure of honouring this beautiful new species 
with the name of so distinguished a naturalist as Charles Lucien 
Bonaparte, Prince of Musignano, I regret that I am unable to give any 
account of its habits, or even of its manner of flight, and must therefore 
confine my remarks upon it within very brief space. The following ex- 
tract from my journal contains all that I have to say respecting it. 

" Monday, August 13th 1821. — Louisiana. — On arriving at the 
Cypress Swamp (about five miles from St Francisville), I saw a great 
number of small birds of different species, and as I looked at them I ob- 
served two engaged in a fight or quarrel. I shot at them, but only one 
fell. On reaching the spot, I found the bird was only wounded, and 
saw it standing still and upright as if stupified by its fall. When I 
approached it to pick it up, it spread its tail, opened its wings, and snap- 
ped its biU about twenty times sharply and in quick succession, as birds 
of the genus do when seizing insects on wing. I carried it home, and 
had the pleasure of drawing it while alive and full of spirit. It often 
made off" from my hand, by starting suddenly, and then would hop round 
the room as quickly as a Carolina Wren, uttering its tweet, tweet, tweet 
all the while, and snapping its bill every time I took it up. I put it in- 
to a cage for a few minutes, but it obstinately thrust its head through 
the lower parts of the wires. I relieved it from this sort of confinement, 
and allowed it to go about the room. Next day it was very weak and 
-ruffled up, so I killed it and put it in spirits." To this account I have 
only to add, that I have not seen another individual since. 

MusciCAPA BoNAPARTii. Plate V. 

Bill of moderate length, straight, subtrigonal, depressed at the base, 
acute, upper mandible slightly notched and a little inflected at the tip, 
lower mandible straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly cover- 


ed by the frontal feathers. Head and neck moderate. Eyes large. 
Body slender. Legs of ordinary size ; tarsus a little longer than the 
middle toe ; inner toe a little united at the base ; claws compressed, 
acute, arched. 

Plumage ordinary, blended. Wings rather long, somewhat acute, 
second primary longest. Tail rather long, nearly even, straight. Basi- 
rostral feathers bristly and directed outwards. 

Bill brown above, yellowish beneath, orbits yellow. Iris deep brown. 
Feet and claws flesh-colour. The upper parts of a light greyish-blue, 
the quills dusky, their outer webs blue, the two first margined with 
white. Under parts and forehead ochre-yeUow, under tail-coverts whitish ; 
a few dark spots on the upper part of the breast. 

Length 5^ inches ; bill along the ridge ^^^ > along the gap | ; tarsus ^. 

The Great Magnolia. 

MAGNOiiiA GBANDiFLOHA, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. u. p. 1255. Pursh, Flor. Amer. 
vol. ii. p. 380. Mich. Arbr. Forest, de I'Ainer. Sept. voL iii. p. 71. PI. i 


L. . The magnificent tree, of which a twig, with a cone of ripe fruit, is re- 
presented in the plate, attains a height of a hundred feet or even more. 
.The bright red bodies are the seeds, suspended by a filament for some 
time after the capsules have burst. The trunk is often very straight, 
from two to four feet in diameter at the base, with a greyish smooth 
bark. The leaves which remain during the winter are stiff and leathery, 
smooth, elliptical, tapering at the base. The flowers are white, and 
^even or eight inches in diameter. It is known by the names of Large 
Magnolia, Big Laurel and Bay-tree, and occurs abundantly in some 
parts of Carolina, Georgia, the Floridas and Louisiana. 

( 29 ) 


To render more pleasant the task which you have imposed upon your- 
self, of following an author through the mazes of descriptive ornithology,' 
permit me, kind reader, to relieve the tedimn which may be apt now and 
then to come upon you, by presenting you with occasional descriptions of. 
the scenery and manners of the land which has furnished the objects that 
engage your attention. The natural features of that land are not less 
remarkable than the moral character of her inhabitants ; and I cannot find 
a better subject with which to begin, than one of those magnificent rivers 
that roll the collected waters of her extensive territories to the ocean. 

When my wife, my eldest son (then an infant), and myself were re- 
turning from Pennsylvania to Kentucky, we found it expedient, the 
waters being unusually low, to provide ourselves with a sli'tff, to enable 
us to proceed to our abode at Henderson. I purchased a large, commo- 
dious, and light boat of that denomination. We procured a mattress,- 
and our friends furnished us with ready prepared viands. We had two . 
stout Negro rowers, and in this trim we left the village of Shippingport, 
in expectation of reaching the place of ovir destination in a very few days. 

It was in the month of October. The autumnal tints already deco- 
rated tlie shores of that queen of rivers, the Ohio. Every tree was 
hung with long and flowing festoons of different species of vines, many 
loaded with clustered fruits of varied brilliancy, their rich bronzed car- 
mine mingling beautifully with the yellow foliage, which now predomi- 
nated over the yet green leaves, reflecting more lively tints from the clear 
stream than ever landscape painter portrayed or poet imagined. 

The days were yet warm. The sun had assumed the rich and glow- 
ing hue which at that season produces the singular phenomenon called 
there the " Indian Summer." The moon had rather passed the meri- 
dian of her grandeur. We glided down the river, meeting no other 
ripple of the water than that formed by the propulsion of our boat. 
Leisurely we moved along, gazing all day on the grandeur and beauty 
of the wild scenery around us. 

Now and then, a large cat-fish rose to the surface of the water in pur- 
suit of a shoal of fry, which starting simultaneously from the liquid ele- 


ment, like so many silvery arrows, produced a shower of light, while the 
pursuer with open jaws seized the stragglers, and, with a splash of his tail, 
disappeared from our view. Other fishes we heard uttering beneath our 
bark a rumbling noise, the strange sounds of which we discovered to 
proceed from the white perch, for on casting our net from the bow we 
caught several of that species, when the noise ceased for a time. 

Nature, in her varied arrangements, seems to have felt a partiality 
towards this portion of our country. As the traveller ascends or de- 
scends the Ohio, he cannot help remarking that alternately, nearly the 
whole length of the river, the margin, on one side, is bounded by lofty 
hills and a rolling surface, while on the other, extensive plains of the 
richest alluvial land are seen as far as the eye can command the view. 
Islands of varied size and form rise here' and there from the bosom of 
the water, and the winding course of the stream frequently brings you to 
places where the idea of being on a river of great length changes to that 
of floating on a lake of moderate extent. Some of these islands are of 
considerable size and value ; while others, small and insignificant, seem as 
if intended for contrast, and as serving to enhance the general interest of 
the scenery. These little islands are frequently overflowed during great 
Jreshets or floods, and receive at their heads prodigious heaps of drifted 
timber. We foresaw with great concern the alterations that cultivation 
would soon produce along those delightful banks. 

As night came, sinking in darkness the broader portions of the river, 
our minds became affected by strong emotions, and wandered far beyond 
the present moments. The tinkling of bells told us that the cattle which 
bore them were gently roving from valley to valley in search of food, or 
returning to their distant homes. The hooting of the Great Owl, or the 
muffled noise of its wings as it sailed smoothly over the stream, were 
matters of interest to us ; so was the sound of the boatman's horn, as it 
came winding more and more softly from afar. When daylight return- 
ed, many songsters burst forth with eclioing notes, more and more mel- 
low to the listening ear. Here and there the lonely cabin of a squatter 
struck the eye, giving note of commencing civilization. The crossing of 
tha sti'eam by a deer foretold how soon the hills would be covered with 

Many sluggish flat-boats we overtook and passed : some laden with 
produce from the different head-waters of the small rivers that pour their 
tributary streams into the Ohio ; others, of less dimensions, crowded with 


emigrants from distant parts, in search of a new home. Purer pleasures 
I never felt ; nor have you, reader, I ween, unless indeed you have felt 
the like, and in such company. 

The margins of the shores and of the river were at this season amply 
supplied with game. A Wild Turkey, a Grouse, or a Blue-winged 
Teal, could be procured in a few moments ; and we fared weU, for, 
whenever we pleased, we landed, struck up a fire, and provided as we 
were with the necessary utensils, procured a good repast. 

Several of these happy days passed, and we neared our home, when, 
one evening, not far from Pigeon Creek (a small stream which runs into 
Xhe Ohio, from the State of Indiana), a loud and strange noise was heard, 
so like the yells of Indian warfare, that we pulled at our oars, and made 
for the opposite side as fast and as quietly as possible. The sounds in- 
creased, we imagined we heard cries of " murder •,"" and as we knew that 
some depredations had lately been committed in the country by dissatis- 
fied parties of Aborigines, we felt for a while extremely uncomfortable. 
Ere long, however, our minds became more calmed, and we plainly dis- 
covered that the singular uproar was produced by an enthusiastic set of 
Methodists, who had wandered thus far out of the common way, for the 
purpose of holding one of their annual camp meetings, under the shade 
of a beech forest. Without meeting with any other interruption, we 
reached Henderson, distant from Shippingport by water about two hun- 
dred miles. 

When I think of these times, and call back to my mind the grandeur 
and beauty of those almost uninhabited shores ; when I picture to my- 
self the dense and lofty summits of the forest, that everywhere spread 
along the hills, and overhung the margins of the stream, unmolested by 
the axe of the settler ; when I know how dearly purchased the safe navi- 
gation of that river has been by the blood of many worthy "Virginians ; 
when I see that no longer any Aborigines are to be found there, and 
that the vast herds of elks, deer and buffaloes which once pastured on 
these hills and in these valleys, making for themselves great roads to the 
several salt-springs, have ceased to exist ; when I reflect that all this 
grand portion of our Union, instead of being in a state of nature, is now 
more or less covered with villages, farms, and towns, where the din of 
hammers and machinery is constantly heard ; that the woods are fast 
disappearing under the axe by day, and the fire by night ; that hun- 
dreds of steam-boats are ghding to and fro, over the whole length of the 


majestic river, forcing commerce to take root and to prosper at every 
spot ; when I see the surplus population of Europe coming to assist 
in the destruction of the forest, and transplanting civilization into its 
darkest recesses; — when I remember that these extraordinary changes 
have all taken place in the short period of twenty years, I pause, wonder, 
and, although I know all to be fact, can scarcely believe its reality. 

Whether these changes are for the better or for the worse, I shall not 
pretend to say ; . but in whatever way my conclusions may incline, I feel 
with regret that there are on record no satisfactory accounts of the state 
of that portion of the country, from the time when our people first set- 
tled in it. This has not been because no one in America is able to ac- 
complish such an undertaking. Our Irvings and our Coopers have 
proved themselves fully competent for the task. It has more probably 
been because the changes have succeeded each other with such rapidity, 
as almost to rival the movements of their pen. However, it is not too 
late yet ; and I sincerely hope that either or both of them will ere long 
furnish the generations to come with those delightful descriptions wliich 
they are so well qualified to give, of the original state of a country that 
has been so rapidly forced to change her form and attire under the influ- 
ence of increasing population. Yes ; I hope to read, ere I close my 
earthly career, accounts from those delightful writers of the progress of 
civilization in our western country. They will speak of the Clarks, 
the Croghans, the Boons, and many other men of great and daring 
enterprise. They wjU analyze, as it were, into each component part, the 
country as it once existed, and will render the picture, as it ought to be, 

( 33 ) 


Meleagris Gallopavo, Linn. 

PLATE VI. Female and Youvg. 

The Male Turkey has already been described, and you have seen that 
magnificent bird roaming in the forests, approaching the haunts of man, 
and performing all the offices for which he is destined in the economy of 
nature. Here you have his mate, now converted into a kind and anxi- 
ous parent, leading her young progeny, with measured step and watcliful 
eye, through the intricacies of the forest. The chickens, still covered 
with down, are running among her feet in pursuit of insects. One is 
picking its sprouting plumelets, while another is ridding itself of a tick 
which has fastened upon its little wing. 

In addition to what has already been said respecting the manners of 
the Wild Turkey, I have a few circumstances to mention, which relate 
chiefly to both sexes. Its flight is powerful and rapid, and is composed 
of strong flappings, which enable it to rise with ease to the highest 
branches of the largest forest trees. When it starts from the ground, it 
generally leaves marks which are made by the first motions of its wings, 
which are so powerful as raise the withered leaves around it. When the 
ground is covered with snow, the impressions are so distinctly defined as 
to imitate the form of the pinions. When it leaves its perch, it flaps its 
wings only a few times at the outset, and then sails for many hundred 
yards, balancing itself as it proceeds, with great steadiness, until it reaches 
the ground. If it has flown from its perch with the view of reaching 
another, it repeats the flappings at intervals of a hundred yards or so. 
On coming to the ground, it is obliged to run for a few yards, its great 
weight rendering this necessary to prevent its body from being injured. 

The great strength of a full grown Turkey-cock renders it no easy 
matter to hold it when but slightly wounded ; and once or twice I have 
thought myself in jeopardy, when on entering a pen in which six or seven 
large cocks had imprisoned themselves, their flutterings and struggles 
rendered it extremely difficult to secure them. 

The Female Turkey, which is considerably inferior in size to the 


male, differs further from him in wanting the spurs and pendulous wat- 
tles, in having the frontal papilla much smaller, the naked space of the 
neck less, and the colours much duller, although similar in distribution . 
The naked parts of the head and neck are more furnished with bi'istly 
feathers, and are of a light blue colour, with reddish tints interspersed. 
The bill, the eyes, and the feet, are of the same colour as in the male, 
the latter considerably paler. There is a line of short bristly dark-co- 
loured feathers down the back of the neck. The general colour of the 
upper and under parts is greyish-brown, with metallic bronzed reflec- 
tions, each feather terminated by a band of black. On the lower back 
the brown tints become brighter, and on the rump and upper tail-coverts 
change into bright chestnut, with transverse bands of brown. The 
ground colour of the tail is pale yellowish-brown, transversely barred 
and mottled as in the male, and with a broad subterminal band of brown- 
ish-black, beyond which the feathers are mottled, and finally terminated 
by uniform light brown. The abdominal region is dull brownish-grey. 
The primary quills are greyish-white, barred with brownish-black ; the 
secondaries brownish-grey, similarly barred. The wing-coverts are si- 
milar to the feathers of the back. 

Length 3 feet 1 inch, extent of wings 4 feet 6 inches ; bill 1 inch 
along the ridge, 1| along the gap ; tarsus 6 ; middle toe 3 J, hind toe 1^, 
pectoral appendage 4 inches. 

The young, a few days old, are pale brownish-yellow above, pale yel- 
lowish-grey beneath, the top of the head brighter, marked in the middle 
with a longitudinal pale brown band, the back and wings spotted with 
brownish-black, excepting the lesser wing-coverts, which are uniformly 
didl brown. Iris yellowish-brown ; bill and feet flesh-coloured. 



PLATE VII. Male and Female. 

I COULD not think of any better mode of representing these birds than 
that which I have adopted, as it exhibits them in the exercise of their ne- 
farious propensities. Look at them : The male, as if full of delight at the 
sight of the havoc which he has already committed on the tender, juicy, 
unripe corn on which he stands, has swelled his throat, and is calling in 
exultation to his companions to come and assist him in demolishing it. 
The female has fed herself, and is about to fly off" with a well-loaded bill 
to her hungry and expectant bi'ood, that, from the nest, look on their 
plundering parents, joyously anticipating the pleasures of which they shall 
ere long be allowed to participate. See how torn the husk is from the ear, 
and how nearly devoured the grains of corn already are ! This is the 
tithe our Blackbirds take from our planters and farmers ; but it was so 
appointed, and such is the will of the beneficent Creator. 

These birds are constant residents in Louisiana. I say they are so, be- 
cause a certain number of them, which in some countries would be called 
immense, is found there at all seasons of the year. No sooner has the 
cotton or corn planter begun to turn his land into brown furrows, than 
the Crow-Blackbirds are seen saihng down from the skirts of the woods, 
alighting in the fields, and following his track along the ridges of newly- 
turned earth, with an elegant and elevated step, which shews them to be 
as fearless and free as the air through which they wing their way. The 
genial rays of the sun shine on their silky plumage, and offer to the plough- 
man's eye such rich and varying tints, that no painter, however gifted, 
could ever imitate them. The coppery bronze, which in one light shews 
its rich gloss, is, by the least motion of the bird, changed in a moment 
to brilHant and deep azure, and again, in the next light, becomes reful- 
gent sapphire or emerald-green. 

The bird stops, spreads its tail, lowers its wings, and, with swelled 
throat and open bill, sounds a call to those which may chance to be pass- 
ing near. The stately step is resumed. Its keen eye, busily engaged on 
either side, is immediately attracted by a grub, hastening to hide itself 



from the sudden exposure made by the plough. In vain does it hurry, 
for the Grakle has seen and marked it for its own, and it is snatched up 
and swallowed in a moment. . - 

Thus does the Grakle follow the husbandman as he turns one furrow- 
after another, destroying a far worse enemy to the corn than itself, for 
every worm which it devours would else shortly cut the slender blade, and 
thereby destroy the plant when it would perhaps be too late to renew it 
by fresh seed. Every reflecting farmer knows this well, and refrains from 
disturbing the Grakle at this season. Were he as merciful at another 
time, it would prove his grateful recollection of the services thus render- 
ed him. But man is too often forgetful of the benefit which he has re- 
ceived ; he permits his too commonly weak and selfish feelings to prevail 
over his reason ; and no sooner does the corn become fit for his own use, 
than he vows and executes vengeance on aU intruders. But to return to 
our Blackbird. 

The season of love has arrived. Each male having, by assiduity, va- 
lour, or good fortune, received the affectionate regards of a faithful mate, 
unites with her in seeking a safe and agreeable retreat. The lofty dead 
trees left standing in our newly cultivated fields, have many holes and 
cavities, some of which have been bored by woodpeckers, and others 
caused by insects or decay. These are visited and examined in succes- 
sion, until a choice being made, and a few dry weeds and feathers collect- 
ed, the female deposits her eggs, which are from four to six in number, 
of a bluish tint, blotched and streaked with brown and black. She 
sits vipon them while her valiant mate and guardian mounts to the 
summit of a broken branch, pours forth his rude notes, and cheers and 
watches her with the kindest and most unremitting care. I think I see 
liim plunging through the air and overtaking the Red-headed or the 
Golden-winged Woodpecker, which, in search of their last year's nest, 
have imprudently alighted at the entrance of the already chosen and oc- 
cupied hole. The conflict is but momentary ; the creeping bird is forced 
to yield, and after whirling round in the air as it defends itself, and very 
nearly comes to the ground, makes the best of its way off*, well knowing 
that there its opponent is more formidable than even in the air. 

This over, the Grakle roams in quest of food. Little heaps of grubs, 
with a few grains of corn, aflbrd delicious repasts to himself and his mate. 
They thus share the labovn-s of incubation, and see the time pass in eager 
and pleasant expectation. And now the emerging brood shake off" the 


shell that so long enclosed them ; their tottering heads are already raised 
toward their mother, while she, with intense anxiety, dries and cherishes 
them. They grow up day after day. The hole becomes nearly filled 
with their increased bulk. The vigilance and industry of the parents also 
augment apace. I wish, good-natured reader, you would seek out such 
a sight : it would gladden your heart, for the rearing of such a family is 
worthy of your contemplation. 

It is with regret that I must turn from this picture. I have already 
told you that the Grakles are at least as fond of corn as the lords of the 
land are. Hark to the sound of rattles, and the hallooing of the farmer's 
sons and servants, as they spread over the field ! Now and then the report 
of a gun comes on the ear. The Grakles have scarcely a single moment 
of quiet ; they are chased, stolen upon, and kiUed in great numbers, all 
the country round ; but the hungry birds heed not the slaughter of their 
brethren. They fly in flocks from place to place, and, in spite of all that 
the farmer has done or threatens to do, continue their depredations. 
Food must be had. Grubs and worms have already retired to their win- 
ter quarters within the earth ; no beech-nuts or acorns have yet fallen 
from the trees ; corn is now their only resource, and the quantity of it 
which they devour is immense. 

Now gloomy November brings up its cold blasts from the north, and 
drives before it the Grakles from the Eastern States. They reach Loui- 
siana and all the Southern States when autumn has not yet retired, wlien 
the weather is still mild and serene, and the yeUow foliage of the wide 
woods gives shelter to myriads of birds. The Grakles, congregated in 
prodigious flocks, alight on the trees that border the vast forests, cover- 
ing every twig and bough in such astonishing masses, that the most un- 
skilful or most avaricious gunner finds no difficulty in satisfying his wish 
for sport or game. This is the time to hsten to their choruses. They 
seem to congratulate each other on their escape, and vociferate at such a 
rate as to make one imagine their number double what it is. 

Beech-nuts and acorns are now abundant in the woods, having by this 
time fallen from the trees, and the Grakles roam in quest of them in im- 
mense bodies, rising on wing when disturbed, uttering at the same time 
a tremendous noise, then making a few rounds, and alighting again. 
They thus gradually clear away the mast, in the same manner as the wild 
pigeons are wont to do. As the weather becomes colder, they frequent 
the farms, and even resort to the cattle pens, where, from among the litter 


and refuse straw, they pick the scattered grains that have fallen from the 
stores with which the farmer has supplied his stock. They remain about 
the farms until the commencement of spring. They are easily cavight in 
traps, and shew little fear when seized, biting so severely as often to draw 
blood, and laying hold with their claws in a very energetic manner. 

During the winter of 1821, I caught a number of them, as well as 
many other birds, for the purpose of sending them alive to Europe. The 
whole of my captives were confined together in a large cage, where they 
were well fed and watered, and received all necessary attention. Things 
went on favourably for several days, and I with pleasure saw them be- 
coming daily more gentle. An unexpected change, however, soon took 
place, for as the Grakles became reconciled to confinement, they began 
to attack the other birds, beating and kiUing one after another so fast 
that I was obliged to remove them from the cage. Even this did not 
prevent further breach of the peace, for the strong attacked and killed 
the weak of their own race, so that only a few remained in the end. The 
Grakles thus mangled, killed and partially devoured several Cardinal 
Grosbeaks, Doves, Pigeons, and Blue Jays. I look upon this remarkable 
instance of ferocity in the Grakle with the more amazement, as I never 
observed it killing any bird when in a state of freedom. 

What I have said respecting the Purple Grakle (which by some is im- 
properly named the Boat-tailed Grakle) refers particularly to the habits 
of those in the south, where some of them are found at all seasons. I 
shall now speak of those of the Western and Middle States. Most of these 
birds leave the south about the middle of February, setting out in small 
detached flocks. They reach the State of New York in this straggling- 
manner about the middle of May. Their migratory flight is performed 
in short undulating lines, resembling small segments of very large circles. 
It may be explained in this manner. Supposing the bird poised in the 
air and intent on moving forwards, it pro}5els itself by a strenuous flap of 
the wings, which carries it forw ard in a curve, along which it ascends un- 
til it attains the level of its original point of departure, when it flaps its 
wings again, and performs another curve. In this form of flight they 
pursue their long journey, during which they keep up a continual low 
chattering, as if they were discussing some important question. When 
they reach Pennsylvania, they commence the avocations which I have al- 
ready described, and are seen following the plough, while their kindred 
that have been left in I^ouisiana are jirobably by this time feeding their 


young, as the difference of climate between these latitudes leaves the 
northern states a month later in their seasons than the southern. 

In the Northern States these birds construct their nests in a much more 
perfect, and therefore more natural manner. A pine tree, whenever it 
occurs in a convenient place, is selected by preference, its dense foliage 
and horizontal branches being well adapted for nidification. There the 
Grakle forms a nest, which from the ground might easily be mistaken for 
that of our Robin, the Turdus migratorius, were it less bulky. But it 
is much larger, and instead of being placed by itself, is associated with 
others, often to the number of a dozen or more, on the horizontal arms of 
the pine, forming tier above tier, from the lowest to the highest branches. 
The centre of the nest is what I would call saddled on the bough, the 
materials being laid so that the nest is thinner in its middle part and 
thicker at the two opposite sides, so as to have a firm hold. It is about six 
inches in diameter outside, and four inches within, the depth being the 
same, and is composed of grass, slender roots and mud, lined with hair 
and finer grasses. I had a white pine-tree in one of my fields on Mill 
Grove Farm, on which many of these birds bred every spring, when some 
mischievous lads frequently amused themselves with beating down the 
nests with long fishing-rods, to my great annoyance. Some of the Penn- 
sylvanian farmers, from a very laudable motive, have given out that 
Grakles are fond of pulling vip the garlic plant, so injurious to the pas- 
tures of the Middle States ; but I am sorry to say this assertion is by no 
means correct, and were these good people to look to the Grakles for the 
clearing of their fields from that evil, they might wait long enough. 

The flesh of the Purple G rakle is little better than that of the Crow, 
being dry and ill-flavoured, notwithstanding which it is frequently used, 
with the addition of one or two Golden-winged Woodpeckers or Redwings, 
to make what is here called pot pie, even amidst a profusion of so many 
better things. The eggs, on the contrary, are very delicate, and I am 
astonished that those who are so anxious for the destruction of these birds 
do not gratify their wishes by eating them while yet in embryo in the egg. 
In some parts of Louisiana, the farmers, or, as they are styled, the planters, 
steep the seed corn for a few hours in a solution of Glauber's salt, to deter 
the Grakles and other birds from eating the grains when just planted, as 
we term it in America, the word soio being seldom employed there to de- 
note the act of depositing in the earth even the smallest seed. 

The Purple Grakle travels very far north. I have found it everywhere 


during my peregrinations, and in one or two instances have seen it form 
its nest in the fissures of rocks. 

QuiscALUS vEKsicoLon, Vieill. Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat. vol. xxviii. p. 488 — Ch. 

Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 54. ; and Americ. Ornith. 

vol. i. p. 42, PI. V. fig. 1. Female. 
Gracula Baeita, Gmel. Syst. vol. i. p. 39G — Lath. Ind. Ornith. p. 191. 
Purple Grakle, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 462. 
Boat-tailed Grakle, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 460 Wilson, Americ. Ornith. 

vol. iii. p. 44, PI. xxi. fig. 4. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate VII. Fig. 1. 

Bill longish, straight, tapering, compressed from the base ; upper 
mandible prolonged on the forehead, forming an acute angle there, a little 
declinate at the tip, its dorsal outline slightly convex, as are the sides ; 
under mandible nearly straight in its lower outline, convex on the sides, 
acute at the tip ; edges of both acute, of the lower inflected ; the gap 
line deflected at the base, reaching to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, 
oval, half closed by a membrane. Head large, rounded above. Neck of 
moderate length, thick. Body rather robust. Feet of moderate length, 
strong ; tarsus considerably longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly 
with longish scutella, shorter below, laterally with two longitudinal plates, 
meeting behind at an acute angle ; lateral toes nearly equal, the outer 
connected at the base by a membrane ; claws strong, arched, compressed, 

Plumage soft, silky, glossy, blended. Wings of ordinary length ; 
second, third and fourth quills longest, first and fifth nearly equal and 
little shorter. Tail longish, of twelve feathers, much rounded, concave 
along the middle above, or what is termed boat-shaped. 

Bill, feet and claws black. Iris bright-yellow. Head, neck, and 
upper part of the breast blackish, with vivid reflections of violet, steel- 
blue, and green. General colour of the body black, with bright-green, 
purple and bronze-coloured reflections above, dull beneath. Quills and 
tail-feathers black, the latter with purple and green reflections ; seconda- 
ries and wing-coverts tinged with brown. 

Length 13 inches, extent of wings 19 ; beak 1;^ along the ridge, 
1| along the gap; tarsus If, middle toe 1^. 


Adult Female. Plate VII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs from the male in being smaller, in having the tail 
less hollow above, and in the less brilliant reflections of its plumage, 
which has more of a brown tint. 

Length 11 inches, extent of wings 16 ; bill 1 along the ridge, 1^ along 
the gap. 

The Maize or Indian Corn. 

Zea Mays, Willd. Sp. PL vol. iv. p. 200. Pursk, Flor. Anieric. p. 46 — Moncecia 
Triandria, Linn. Gramine^, Jziss. 

This very important plant is abundantly cultivated in all parts of 
America. As it is generally known, and as I shall have occasion to speak 
of it elsewhere, it is unnecessary for me to describe it here. 

. ( 42. ) 


Fringilla pennsylvanica^ Lath. 

PLATE VIII. Male and Female. 

This pretty little bird is a visitor of Louisiana and all the southern 
districts, where it remains only a very short time. Its arrival in Louisia- 
na may be stated to take place in the beginning of November, and its 
departure in the first days of March. In all the Middle States it remains 
longer. How it comes and how it departs are to me quite unknown. I 
can only say, that, all of a sudden, the hedges of the fields bordering on 
creeks or swampy places, and overgrown with diflPerent species of vines, 
sumach bushes, briars, and the taller kinds of grasses, appear covered 
with these birds. They form groups, sometimes containing from thirty 
to fifty individuals, and live together in harmony. They are constantly 
moving up and down among these recesses, vn\\\ frequent jerkings of the 
tail, and uttering a note common to the tribe. From the hedges and 
thickets they issue one by one in quick succession, and ramble to the dis- 
tance of eight or ten yards, hopping and scratching, in quest of small 
seeds, and preserving the utmost silence. When the least noise is heard, 
or alarm given, and frequently, as I thought, without any alarm at all, 
they aU fly back to their covert, pushing directly into the very thickest 
part of it. A moment elapses, when they become reassured, and ascend- 
ing to the highest branches and twigs, open a little concert, which, al- 
though of short duration, is extremely sweet. There is much plaintive 
softness in their note, which I wish, kind reader, I could describe to you ; 
but this is impossible, although it is yet ringing in my ear, as if I were 
in those very fields where I have so often listened to it with delight. No 
sooner is their music over than they return to the field, and thus con- 
tinue alternately sallying forth and retreating during the greater part of 
the day. At the approach of night, they utter a sharper and shriller 
note, consisting of a single twit, repeated in smart succession by the 
whole group, and continuing until the first hooting of some owl frightens 
them into silence. Yet, often during fine nights, I have heard the little 
creatures emit here and there a twit, as if to assure each other that " all's 


During the warmer days, they remove partially to the woods, but 
never out of reach of their favourite briar thickets, ascend the tops of 
hollies, or such other trees as are covered with tangled vines, and pick 
either a berry or a winter grape. Their principal enemies in the day- 
time, are the little Sparrow Hawk, the Slate-coloured or Sharp-shinned 
Hawk, and above all, the Hen-harrier or Marsh Hawk. The latter 
passes over their little coteries with such light wings, and so unlocked 
for, that he seldom fails in securing one of them. 

No sooner does spring return, when our woods are covered with white 
blossoms, in gay mimicry of the now melted snows, and the delighted eye 
is attracted by the beautiful flowers of the Dog-wood tree, than the 
White-throated Sparrow bids farewell to these parts, not to return till 
winter. Where it spends the summer I know not, but I should think 
not within the States. 

It is a plump bird, fattening almost to excess, whilst in Louisiana, 
and affords deUcious eating, for which purpose many are killed with 
blow-guns. These instruments — shovild you not have seen them — are 
prepared by the Indians, who cut the straightest canes, perforating them 
by forcing a hickery rod through the internal partitions which intersect 
this species of bamboo, and render them quite smooth within by j^assing the 
rod repeatedly through. The cane is then kept perfectly straight, and is 
well dried, after which it is ready for use. Splints of wood, or more fre- 
quently of cane, are then worked into tiny arrows, quite sharp at one end, 
and at the other, instead of being feathered, covered with squirrel hair or 
other soft substances, in the manner of a bottle-brush, so as to fill the 
tube and receive the impulse imparted by a smart puff of breath, which 
is sufficient to propel such an arrow with force enough to kill a small 
bird at the distance of eight or ten paces. With these blow-guns or 
pipes, several species of birds are killed in large quantities ; and the 
Indians sometimes procure even squirrels by means of them. 

The Dog-wood, of whicia I have represented a twig in early spring, 
is a small tree found nearly throughout the Union, but generally prefer- 
ring such lands as with us are called of second quahty, although it occa- 
sionally makes its appearance in the richest alluvial deposits. Its height 
seldom exceeds twenty feet, or its diameter ten inches. It is scarcely 
eVer straight to any extent, but the wood, being extremely hard and com- 
pact, is useful for turning, when well dried and free of wind-shakes, to 
which it is rather liable. Its berries are eaten by various species of birds, 


and "especially by our different kinds of Squirrels, all of which shew great 
partiality to them. Its flowers, although so interesting in early spring, 
are destitute of odour, and of short duration. The bark is used by the 
inhabitants in decoction as a remedy for intermittent fevers, and the 
berries are employed by the housewife for dyeing black. 

FaiNGiLLA PENNSTLVANICA, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 443 — Ch. Bonaparte, 

Synopsis of Birds of the United Slates, p. 108. 
White-throated Sparrow, Fringilla albicollis, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. iii. 

p. 51, PI. xxxi. fig. 5. Male. 
White-throated Finch, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 443. 

Adult Male. Plate VIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, robust, conical, acute ; upper mandible broader than the 
lower, scarcely dechnate at the tip, almost straight in its dorsal outline, 
as is the lower, both being rounded on the sides, and the lower with in- 
flected, acute edges ; the gap line nearly straight, a little deflected at the 
base, and not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish, 
open, partially concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. Neck 
shortish. Body robust. Legs of moderate length, slender ; tarsus longer 
than the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes 
scutellate above, free, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, arched, 
compressed, acute, that of the hind toe rather large. 

Plumage compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings short 
and curved, rounded, the third and fourth quills longest, the first much 
shorter, the secondaries long. Tail longish, forked, the lateral feathers 
curved outwards towards the tip. 

Upper mandible dark brown, its edges and the lower mandible light 
blue. Iris hazel. Feet flesh-coloured, claws light brown. Upper part 
of the head black, with a narrow white stripe from the forehead to the 
upper part of the neck. A broader white stripe, anteriorly passing into 
bright orange, over each eye, margined by a narrow black stripe extend- 
ing from the eye down the neck. Upper part of the back, and the lesser 
wing-coverts, bright bay, variegated with black ; lower back and tail- 
coverts brownish-grey. Quills and large coverts blackish, margined with 
bay, the latter, as well as the next series, tipped with white, forming two 
conspicuous bands on the wing. Tail dusky brown. Throat white ; 


sides and fore-part of the neck and breast bluish-grey ; the rest of the 
under parts greyish-white. 

I^ength 65 inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill /^ along the ridge, /^ along 
the gap ; tarsus 1|, middle toe 1. 

Adult Female. Plate VIII. Fig. 2. 
In the female, the colours are similarly arranged, but much duller, the 
bright bay of the male being changed into reddish-brown, the black into 
dark brown, and the white into greyish-white. The white streak above 
the eye is narrower, shorter, and anteriorly less yellow, the greyish-blue 
of the breast paler, and the white spot on the throat less defined. 

Length 6| inches, extent of wings 8^ ; bill ^ along the ridge, ^ along 
the gap. 


Cohnus FLORIDA, Willd. Sp. Plant, vol. i. p. 661. Miehaux, Abr. Forest, de I'Amer, 
Sept. t. iii. p. 138, PL iii. Pursh, Flora Americ. p. 108.— Tetbandria Mono- 
GYNiA, Linn. Caphifolia, Juss. 

A beautiful small tree, generally about twenty feet in height, with 
very hard wood ; dark grey bark, cracked into squarish compartments ; 
ovate-elliptical, acuminate leaves, which are light green above, whitish 
beneath ; large, obcordate involucral leaves ; and bright-red oval berries. 

( 4G ) 


MuscicAPA Selbii. 

PLATE IX. Male. 

The works of every student of nature are always pleasing to me, 
and it is with delight that I see the number of such students daily in- 
creasing; but when I meet with one who, regardless of the labour attend- 
ing upon figuring in their full size the objects from which he has derived 
his knowledge, my heart expands, and I hail his name with enthusiasm. 
Mr Selby's great work is so well known to the scientific world, that I 
need only here mention the favour which its accomplished author has con- 
ferred upon me by permitting me to decorate one of my pages with his 
name, in quality of foster-father to a beautiful and hitherto unknown 
species of Fly-catcher. 

As this bird, to the day on which my engraving of it appeared, had 
not been described, or, in as far as I know, obtained by any other person 
than myself, notwithstanding the great number of individuals who have 
of late years been searching our States for new and rare species, it must 
■be considered as of very unfrequent occurrence, and probably as seldom 
going farther north or east than the place where I discovered it. More- 
over, it is so scarce even there, that in all my walks I only shot three in- 
dividuals, in the course of nine years. In no instance have I been able 
to cultivate its society longer than a few minutes, as, before it might 
escape from me, I was obhged to shoot it, in order to satisfy myself that 
it was indeed a different bird from any figured or described in books. 

My journal, under the date of 1st July 1821, contains the following 
statement : — " I found this bird about three miles from St Francisville in 
Louisiana, whilst engaged in searching for a Turkey, which I had 
wounded. It was afternoon, and the heat oppressive. I saw it inno- 
cently approaching us until within a few yards, anxiously looking, as if 
trying to discover our intentions ; but as we stood motionless, it once 
came so near that I could easily have reached it with my gun barrel. 
It moved nimbly among the twigs of the low bushes, making now and 
then short dashes at flies, which it swallowed after kilhng them under 
foot, as many other Fly-catchers are in the habit of doing, then peeping at 
us, and again setting off in pursuit of flies. The snapping of its bill 


when seizing an insect, Avas sliarp, and as distinct as if the bird had been 
in my hand. At length, fearing that it might escaj^e, I desired my 
young friend Joseph Mason to retire further from it, that we might 
slioot it." 

On the 4th July, while searching with care about the same place, to 
find its nest or the female, I shot another of these birds, which I found 
to be a female. It differed only in being rather smaller, darker above, 
and paler beneath. On tlie 27th September of the same year, I shot 
a second male in beautiful plumage, six or seven miles off, in a different 
direction, in the same State. Finding the pretty flower on which the 
bird is drawn, in the immediate neighbourhood, and growing wild, 
although I am assured it is originally from Europe, I have represented 
it, thinking it might contrast well with the Fly-catcher in its richly 
coloured flowers, and be assimilated to it in that of its stem and leaves. 
This flower is found in damp places, in Louisiana only, at least I liave 
not met with it in the woods of any other State. 

Selby's Fly-Catcher, Muscicapa Selbii. 

Adult Male. Plate X. 
Bill longish, depressed, tapering to a sharp point, very broad at the 
base, the gap reaching to nearly under the eye ; upper mandible shghtly 
notched and inflected at the tip ; lower straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, 
linear. Head and neck of moderate size. Body somewhat slender. 
Feet moderately long, slender ; tarsus covered with short scutella above, 
with a longitudinal keeled plate behind, longer than the middle toe ; 
toes slender, unconnected ; claws small, weak, slightly arched, compres- 
sed, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft and glossy. The beak margined at the base 

, with long spreading bristles. Wings of moderate length, third qmll 

longest, second and first little shorter, the other quills graduated. Tail 

rather long, forked when closed, rounded when spread, the feathers 


Bill brown, horn-colour above, passing into dark flesh-colour below. 
Iris dark brown. Legs, feet, and claws very light flesh-colour. The 
whole upper parts dark olive ; wings black, the feathers margined exter- 
nally with light olive, internally with white. The whole under parts, in- 


eluding the tail-coverts, and a broad line over the eyes, rich yellow. The 
three external feathers of the tail marked internally with white, the first 
more so than the second, and the third less than the latter. Shafts of 
the quills and tail-feathers aeep brownish-black. Basirostral bristles 


Length 5| inches, extent of wings 7| ; bill along the ridge 3^, along 
the gap f|; tarsus 1, middle toe |. 

The female, as has been said, is nearly similar, the distribution of the 
colours being the same. 


Adonis autumnalis, Linn. Sp. PI. p. 771. Wild. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 1304. Smith. 
Engl. Fl. vol. iii. p. 43. — Polyandeia Pentagynia, Limu Ranunculace^e, 

This plant, vulgarly named Pheasant's-eye, grows in Europe in corn- 
fields. It has an erect, branched stem, with copiously pinnatifid, alter- 
nate, sessile, dark green leaves, the segments of which are linear and 
acute, and deep crimson flowers, having a black spot near the claw of 
each of the petals, which vary from six to ten. 

( 49 ) 


Anthus Spinoletta. Bonap. 

PLATE X. Male and Female. 

Although this species is met with in every portion of the United 
States which I have visited, I have not seen it anywhere during the sum- 
mer months, or heard of it breeding with us. It is one of the birds that 
I should call gifted with a double set of habits, for, like a very few 
others that are strictly named land birds, it occurs not only in the fields in 
the interior of the country, but also on the borders of rivers, and even on 
the shores of the Atlantic. 

Its flight is extremely easy, and what I would call of a beautiful and 
deUcate nature. In other words, these birds pass and repass through the 
air, performing numberless evolutions, as if it did not cost them the least 
labour to fly. When in the interior of the country, they resort to the old 
fields, and the vast prairies, as well as the ploughed lands, seldom in 
flocks of less than ten or a dozen, and not unfrequently by hundreds. 
Now, they are seen high, loosely moving in short reiterated undulations, 
inspecting the ground below ; now, they come sweeping over and close 
to it, and seem about to alight, when, on the contrary, their ranks close 
in an instant, they wheel about^ and rise again into the air. These feats 
are often repeated six or seven times, when at last, satisfied as to their 
safety, or the abundance of food in the spot, they alight, and immediately 
run about in quest of food. They run briskly, and as lightly as birds 
usually called Larks are wont to do, but with this difference, that they 
suffer their tails to vibrate whenever they stop running. Again, instead 
of squatting partially down, as true Larks do, to pick up their food, they 
move their body upon the upper joints of the legs, in the manner of 
Thrushes and other birds. Another habit seldom found in the Lark ge- 
nus is that of settling on fences and trees, and walking along them with 
apparent ease. In fact, the bird, although called a Lark by Wilson and 
others, belongs to the Pipit or Titlark family. 

Whilst resichng among the meadows and ploughed fields, these birds 
feed on insects and small seeds, picking up some gravel at the same time. 
Along the rivers, or on the sea-shores, they are fond of running as neai' 



the edge of the water as possible, and searching among the drifted leaves 
and weeds for such insects as are usually found there. The vibratory 
motion of their tail is now more perceptible, being quicker. Their feeble 
notes are also frequently uttered. When shot along the shores, their 
stomachs have been found filled with fragments of minute shells, as well 
as small shrimps, and other garbage. When raised by the report of a 
gun, they rise high, and sometimes fly to a considerable distance ; but 
you may expect their return to the same spot, if you keep yourself con- 
cealed for a few minutes. They are expert fly-catchers, inasmuch as 
they leap from the ground, and follow insects on the wing for several 
feet with avidity. The company of cattle is agreeable to them, so much 
so, that they walk almost under them in quest of insects. When in fields, 
the Brown Titlarks are often seen mixed with a few other birds known 
by the name of Winter Larks, the habits of which I shall detail in my 
next volume. 

The species now under consideration reaches Louisiana about the 
middle of October, and leaves it in the beginning of March. I caught 
some of these birds on my passage from France to the United States, on 
the Great Newfoundland Banks. They came on board wearied, and so 
hungry that the crumbs of biscuit thrown to them were picked up with 
the greatest activity. I am inclined to consider the Brown Titlark 
identical with the Water Pipit of Europe. 

Anthus Spinoletta, Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 90. 

Alauda Spinoletta, Linn. Syst. Nat. p. 288. 

Pipit spioncelle, Temm. Man. d'Ornith. Part i. p. 205. 

Brown Lark, Alauda rufa, Wilson, Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 99. PI. 42. fig. 4. 

Adult Male. Plate X. Fig. 1. 

Bill straight, subulate, depressed at the base, acute, the edges 
slightly inflected at the middle, the gap not reaching to beneath the 
eyes ; upper mandible keeled at the base, afterwards rounded, slightly 
notched and declinate at the tip. Nostrils basal, oval, half closed above 
by a membrane. Head smaU. Neck slender. Body slender. Feet 
longish, slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with longish scu- 
tella, longer than the middle toe ; toes scutellate above, granulated be- 
neath ; inner toe free ; hind toe with a very long, almost straight 
claw, which, together with the rest, is slender, compressed and acute 


Plumage blended, soft, with little gloss. Wings rather long, acute, 
the first, second, and third primaries longest. Tail longish, forked, the 
feathers rather narrow and sharpish. 

Bill brownish-black. Legs and claws deep brown, tinged with 
green. Iris brown. Upper parts olive-brown tinged with grey ; throat 
and a line over the eye brownish-white. Quills brownish-black, mar- 
gined externally with whitish ; tail of the same colour, the outermost 
feather half white, the next obliquely white at the end. Under parts 
reddish white, the sides of the neck and the breast longitudinally spotted 
with dark brown. 

Length 6| inches, extent of wings 10| ; bill J-^ along the ridge, 
I along the gap ; tarsus j^, middle toe | ; hind toe | including the claw, 
which is ^^. 

Adult Female. Plate X. Fig. 2. 

The female differs from the male only in being somewhat smaller, and 
in having the colours paler, and the upper parts more tinged with 

D ^A 

( 52 ) 


I LEFT Philadelphia, at four of the morning, by the coach, with no other 
accoutrements than I knew to be absolutely necessary for the jaunt which 
I intended to make. These consisted of a wooden box, containing a small 
stock of linen, drawing paper, my journal, colours and pencils, together 
with S5 povmds of shot, some flints, the due quantum of cash, my gun 
Tear-jacket, and a heart as trvie to nature as ever. 

Our coaches are none of the best, nor do they move with the velocity 
of those of some other countries. It was eight, and a dark night, when I 
reached Mauch Chunk, now so celebrated in the Union for its rich coal 
mines, and eighty-eight miles distant from Philadelphia. I had passed 
through a very diversified covmtry, part of which was highly cultivated, 
while the rest was yet in a state of nature, and consequently much more 
agreeable to me. On alighting, I was shewn to the travellers'' room, and 
on asking for the landlord, saw coming towards me a fine-looking yoimg 
man, to whom I made known my wishes. He spoke kindly, and offered 
to lodge and board me at a mvich lower rate than travellers who go there 
for the very simple pleasure of being dragged on the railway. In a word, 
I was fixed in four minutes, and that most comfortably. 

No sooner had the approach of day been announced by the cocks of 
the little village, than I marched out with my gun and note-book, to 
judge for myself of the wealth of the country. After traversing much 
ground, and crossing many steep hills, I returned, if not wearied, at least 
much disappointed at the extraordinary scarcity of birds. So I bargained 
to be carried in a cart to the central parts of the Great Pine Swamp, and, 
although a heavy storm was rising, ordered my conductor to proceed. 
We winded rovmd many a mountain, and at last crossed the highest. 
The weather had become tremendous, and we were thoroughly drenched, 
but my resolution being fixed, the boy was obliged to continue his driv- 
ing. Having already travelled about fifteen miles or so, we left the turn- 
pike, and struck up a narrow and bad road, that seemed merely cut out 
to enable the people of the Swamp to receive the necessary supplies from 
the village which I had left. Some mistakes were made, and it was al- 
most dark, when a post directed us to the habitation of a IVIr Jediah 
Irish, to whom I had been recommended. We now rattled down a steep 
declivity, edged on one side by almost perpendicular rocks, and on the 


other by a noisy stream, which seemed grumbling at the approach of 
strangers. The ground was so overgrown by laurels and taU pines of 
different kinds, that the whole presented only a mass of darkness. 

At length we got to the house, the door of which was already opened, 
the sight of strangers being nothing uncommon in our woods, even in the 
most remote parts. On entering, I was presented with a chair, while my 
conductor was shewn the way to the stable, and on expressing a wish 
that I should be permitted to remain in the house for some weeks, I was 
gratified by receiving the sanction of the good woman to my proposal, al- 
though her husband was then from home. As I immediately fell a-talk- 
ing about the nature of the country, and inquired if birds were numerous 
in the neighbourhood, Mrs Iuish, more aufait to household affairs than 
ornithology, sent for a nephew of her husband's, who soon made his ap- 
pearance, and in whose favour I became at once prepossessed. He convers- 
ed like an educated person, saw that I was comfortably disposed of, and 
finally bade me good-night in such a tone as made me quite happy. 

The storm had rolled away before the first beams of the morning sun 
shone brightly on the wet foliage, displaying all its richness and beauty. 
My ears were greeted by the notes, always sweet and mellow, of the Wood 
Thrush and other songsters. Before I had gone many steps, the woods 
echoed to the report of my gun, and I picked from among the leaves a 
lovely Sylvia, long sought for, but until then sought for in vain. I need- 
ed no more, and standing still for awhile, I was soon convinced that the 
Great Pine Swamp harboured many other objects as valuable to me. 

The young man joined me, bearing his rifle, and offered to accompany 
me through the woods, all of which he well knew. But I was anxious to 
transfer to paper the form and beauty of the little bird I had in my hand ; 
and requesting him to break a twig of blooming laurel, we returned to the 
house, speaking of nothing else than the picturesque beauty of the coun- 
try around. 

A few days passed, during which I became acquainted with my hostess 
and her sweet children, and made occasional rambles, but spent the greater 
portion of my time in drawing. One morning, as I stood near the win- 
dow of my room, I remarked a tall and powerful man ahght from his 
horse, loose the girth of the saddle, raise the latter with one hand, pass 
the bridle over the head of the animal with the other, and move towards 
the house, while the horse betook himself to the little brook to drink. I 
lieard some movements in the room below, and again the same tall person 
walked towards the mills and stores, a few hundred yards from the house. 


In America, business is the first object in view at all times, and right it 
is that it should be so. Soon after my hostess entered my room, accom- 
panied by the fine-looking woodsman, to whom, as Mr Jediah Irish, I 
was introduced. Reader, to describe to you the qualities of that excellent 
man were vain ; you should know him, as I do, to estimate the value of 
such men in our sequestered forests. He not only made me welcome, but 
promised all his assistance in forwarding my views. 

The long walks and long talks we have had together I never can for- 
get, or the many beautiful birds which we pursued, shot, and admired. 
The juicy venison, excellent bear flesh, and delightful trout that daily 
formed my food, methinks I can still enjoy. And then, what pleasure I 
had in listening to him as he read his favourite Poems of Burns, while my 
pencil was occupied in smoothing and softening the drawing of the bird 
before me ! Was not this enough to recall to my mind the early impres- 
sions that had been made upon it by the description of the golden age, 
which I here found realized .? 

The Lehigh about this place forms numerous short turns between the 
mountains, and affords frequent falls, as. well as below the falls deep 
pools, which render this stream a most valuable one for mills of any kind. 
Not many years before this date, my host was chosen by the agent of the 
Lehigh Coal Company, as their mill-wright, and manager for cutting down 
the fine trees which covered the mountains around. He was young, ro- 
bust, active, industrious, and persevering. He marched to the spot where 
his abode now is, with some workmen, and by dint of hard labour first 
cleared the road mentioned above, and reached the river at the centre of 
a bend, where he fixed on erecting various mills. The pass here is so 
narrow that it looks as if formed by the bursting asunder of the mountain, 
both sides ascending abruptly, so that the place where the settlement was 
made is in many parts difficult of access, and the road then newly cut 
Avas only sufficient to permit men and horses to come to the spot where 
Jediah and his men were at work. So great, in fact, were the difficulties 
of access, that, as he told me, pointing to a spot about 1 50 feet above us, 
they for many months slipped from it their barrelled provisions, assisted 
by ropes, to their camp below. But no sooner was the first saw-mill erect- 
ed, than the axemen began their devastations. Trees one after another 
were, and are yet, constantly heard falUng, during the days ; and in calm 
nights, the greedy mills told the sad tale, that in a century the noble fo- 
rests around should exist no more. Many mills were erected, many dams 
raised, in defiance of the impetuous Lehigh. One fuU third of the trees 


have already been culled, turned into boards, and floated as far as Phila- 

In such an undertaking, the cutting of the trees is not all. They have 
afterwards to be hauled to the edge of the mountains bordering the river, 
lainiched into the stream, and led to the mills over many shallows and 
difficidt places. Whilst I was in the Great Pine Swamp, I frequently 
visited one of the principal places for the launching of logs. To see them 
tumbling from such a height, touching here and there the rough angle of 
a projecting rock, bouncing from it with the elasticity of a foot-baU, and at 
last falling with awful crash into the river, forms a sight interesting in the 
highest degree, but impossible for me to describe. Shall I tell you that I 
have seen masses of these logs heaped above each other to the number of 
five thousand ? I may so tell you, for such I have seen. My friend IiiisH 
assured me that at some seasons, these piles consisted of a much greater 
number, the river becoming in those places completely choked up. 

^Nhen freshets (or floods) take place, then is the time chosen for for- 
wardino: the logs to the different miUs. This is called a Frolic. Jediah 
Irish, who is generally the leader, proceeds to the upper leap with his men, 
each provided with a strong wooden handspike, and a short-handled axe. 
They all take to the water, be it summer or winter, like so many New- 
foundland spaniels. The logs are gradually detached, and, after a 
time, are seen floating down the dancing stream, here striking against 
a rock and whirling many times round, there suddenly checked in dozens 
by a shallow, over which they have to be forced with the handspikes. 
Now they arrive at the edge of a dam, and are again pushed over. Cer- 
tain numbers are left in each dam, and when the party has arrived at the 
last, which lies just where my friend Irish's camp was first formed, the 
drenched leader and his men, about sixty in number, make their way home, 
find there a healthful repast, and spend the evening and a portion of the 
inVht in dancing and frolicking, in their own simple manner, in the most 
perfect amity, seldom troubling themselves with the idea of the labour 
prepared for them on the morrow. 

That morrow now come, one sounds a horn from the door of the store- 
house, at the call of which each returns to his work. The sawyers, the 
millers, the rafters and raftsmen are all immediately busy. The mills are all 
going, and the logs, Avhich a few months before were the supporters of broad 
and leafy tops, are now in the act of being split asunder. The boards are 
then launched into the stream, and rafts are formed of them for market. 


During the summer and autumnal months, the Lehigh, a small river 
of itself, soon becomes extremely shallow, and to float the rafts would 
prove impossible, had not art managed to provide a supply of water for 
this express purpose. At the breast of the lower dam is a curiously con- 
structed lock, which is opened at the approach of the rafts. They pass 
through this lock with the rapidity of lightning, propelled by the water 
that had been accumulated in the dam, and which is of itself generally 
sufficient to float them to Mauch Chunk, after which, entering regular 
canals, they find no other impediments, but are conveyed to their ultimate 

Before population had greatly advanced in this part of Pennsylvania, 
game of all descriptions found within that range was extremely abun- 
dant. The Elk itself did not disdain to browse on the shoulders of the 
mountains, near the Lehigh. Bears and the Common Deer must have 
been plentiful, as, at the moment when I write, many of both kinds are 
seen and killed by the resident hunters. The Wild Turkey, the Pheasant 
and the Grouse, are also tolerably abundant ; and as to trout in the streams 
— Ah, reader, if you are an angler, do go there, and try for yourself. 
For my part, I can only say, that I have been made weary with puUing 
up from the rivulets the sparkUng fish, allured by the struggles of the 
common grasshopper. 

; A comical affair happened with the bears, which I shall relate to you, 
good reader. A party of my friend Irish's raftsmen, returning from 
Mauch Chunk, one afternoon, through sundry short cuts over the moun- 
tains, at the season when the huckle-berries are ripe and plentiful, were 
suddenly apprised of the proximity of some of these animals, by their 
snuffing the air. No sooner was this perceived than, to the astonishment 
of the party, not fewer than eight bears, I was told, made their appear- 
ance. Each man, being provided with his short-handled axe, faced 
about, and willingly came to the scratch ; but the assailed soon proved 
the assailants, and Mdth claw and tooth drove off" the men in a twinkling. 
Down they all rushed from the mountain ; the noise spread quickly ; 
rifles were soon procured and shouldered ; but when the spot was reached, 
no bears were to be found ; night forced the hunters back to their homes, 
and a laugh concluded the affair. 

I spent six weeks in the Great Pine Forest — Swamp it cannot be call- 
ed — where I made many a di'awing. Wishing to leave Pennsylvania, 
gnd tp follow the migratory flocks of our birds to the south, I bade adieu 


to the excellent wife and rosy children of my friend, and to his kind ne- 
phew. Jediah Irish, shouldering his heavy rifle, accompanied me, and 
trudging directly across the mountains, we arrived at Mauch Chunk in 
good time for dinner. Shall I ever have the pleasure of seeing that good, 
that generous man again ? 

At Mauch Chunk, where we both spent the night, Mr White, the ci- 
vil engineer, visited me, and looked at the drawings which I had made 
in the Great Pine Forest. The news he gave me of my sons, then in 
Kentucky, made me still more anxious to move in their direction, and, 
long before day-break, I shook hands with the goodman of the forest, 
and found myself moving towards the capital of Pennsylvania, having as 
my sole companion a sharp frosty breeze. Left to my thoughts, I felt 
amazed that such a place as the Great Pine Forest should be so little 
known to the Philadelphians, scarcely any of whom could direct me to- 
wards it. How much is it to be regretted, thought I, that the many 
young gentlemen who are there so much at a loss how to employ their 
leisure days, should not visit these wild retreats, valuable as they are to 
the student of nature. How differently would they feel, if, instead of 
spending weeks in smoothing a useless bow, and walking out in full dress, 
intent on displaying the make of their legs, to some rendezvous where 
they may enjoy their wines, they were to occupy themselves in contem- 
plating the rich profusion which nature has poured around them, or even 
in procuring some desiderated specimen for their PeaWs Museum, once 
so valuable and so finely arranged ? But alas ! no : they are none of 
them aware of the richness of the Great Pine Swamp, nor are they hkely 
to share the hospitality to be found there. 

Night came on, as I was thinking of such things, and I was turned out 
of the coach in the streets of the fair city, just as the clock struck ten. 
I cannot say that my bones were much rested, but not a moment was to 
be lost. So I desired a porter to take up my Little luggage, and leading 
him towards the nearest wharf, I found myself soon after gliding across 
the Delaware, towards my former lodgings in the Jerseys. The lights 
were shining from the parallel streets as I crossed them, all was tranquil 
and serene, until there came the increasing sound of the Baltimore 
steamer, which, for some reason unknown to me, was that evening later 
than usual in its arrival. My luggage was landed, and carried home by 
means of a bribe. The people had all retired to rest, but my voice was 
instantly recognised, and an entrance was afforded to me. 

( 58 ) 


Falco Washingtonii. 

PLATE XI. Male. 

It" was in the month of February 1814, that I obtained the first sight 

/of this noble bird, and never shall I forget the delight which it gave me. 

Not even Herschel, when he discovered the planet which bears his name, 

1 could have experienced more rapturous feelings. We were on a trading 

\ voyage, ascending the Upper Mississippi. The keen wintry blasts 

I whistled around us, and the cold from which I suffered had, in a great de- 

I gree, extinguished the deep interest which, at other seasons, this niagni- 

! ficent river has been wont to awake in me. I lay stretched beside our 

patroon. The safety of the cargo was forgotten, and the only thing that 

[ called my attention was the multitude of ducks, of different species, ac- 

j companied by vast flocks of swans, which from time to time passed us. 

My patroon, a Canadian, had been engaged many years in the fur trade. 

i He was a man of much intelligence, and, perceiving that these birds had 

engaged my curiosity, seemed anxious to find some new object to divert 

i me. An eagle flew over us. " How fortunate !" he exclaimed ; " this 

\ is what I could have wished. Look, sir ! the Great Eagle, and the only 

I one I have seen since I left the lakes." I was instantly on my feet, and 

/ ! having observed it attentively, concluded, as I lost it in the distance, that 

y it was a species quite new to me. My patroon assured me that such 

' birds were indeed rare ; that they sometimes followed the hunters, to feed 

on the entrails of animals which they had killed, when the lakes were 

frozen over, but that when the lakes were open, they would dive in the 

\^ daytime after fish, and snatch them up in the manner of the Fishing Hawk ; 

and that they roosted generally on the shelves of the rocks, where they 

built their nests, of which he had discovered several by the quantity of 

white dung scattered below. 

Convinced that the bird was unknown to naturalists, I felt particular- 
ly anxious to learn its habits, and to discover in what particulars it dif- 
fered from the rest of its genus, i My next meeting with this bird was a / 
few years afterwards, whilst engaged in collecting crayfish on one of those 
flats which border and divide Green River, in Kentucky, near its junc- 



tion with the Ohio. The rivei- is there bordered by a range of high 
cliffs, which, for some distance, follow its windings. I observed on the 
rocks, which, at that place, are nearly perpendicular, a quantity of white 
ordure, which I attributed to owls that might have resorted thither. I 
mentioned the circumstance to my companions, when one of them, who 
lived within a mile and a half of the place, told me it was from the nest of 
the Brown Eagle, meaning the White-headed Eagle (Falco leucocephalus) 
in its immature state. I assured him this could not be, and remarked 
that neither the old nor the young birds of that species ever build in such 
places, but always in trees. Although he could not answer my objection, 
he stoutly maintained that a brown eagle of some kind, above the usual 
size, had built there ; and added that he had espied the nest some days 
before, and had seen one of the old birds dive and catch a fish. This he 
thought strange, having, till then, always observed that both Brown 
Eagles and Bald Eagles procured this kind of food by robbing the fish- 
hawks. He said that if I felt particularly anxious to know what nest it 
was, I might soon satisfy myself, as the old birds would come and feed 
their young with fish, for he had seen them do so before. 

In high expectation, I seated myself about a hundred yards from the 
foot of the rock. Never did time pass more slowly. I could not help 
betraying the most impatient curiosity, for my hopes whispered it was a 
Sea Eagle's nest. Two long hours had elapsed before the old bird made 
his appearance, which was announced to us by the loud hissings of the 
two young ones, which crawled to the extremity of the hole to receive a 
fine fish. I had a perfect view of this noble bird as he held himself to 
the edging rock, hanging like the Barn, Bank, or Social Swallov/, his 
tail spread, and his wings partly so. I trembled lest a word should 
escape from my companions. The sUghtest murmur had been treason 
from them. They entered into my feelings, and, although little inte- 
rested, gazed with me. In a few minutes the other parent joined her 
mate, and from the difference in size (the female of rapacious birds being 
much larger), we knew this to be the mother bird. She also had brought 
a fish ; but, more cautious than her mate, she glanced her quick and 
piercing eye around, and instantly perceived that her abode had been 
discovered. She di'opped her prey, with a loud shriek communicated the \ 
alarm to the male, and, hovering with him over our heads, kept up a 
growling cry, to intimidate us from our suspected design. This watch- 


ful solicitude I have ever found peculiar to the female :•!— must I be un- 
derstood to speak only of birds ? ■ 

The young having concealed themselves, we went and picked up the 
fish which the mother had let fall. It was a white perch, weighing about 
5g lb. The upper part of the head was broken in, and the back torn 
by the talons of the eagle. We had plainly seen her bearing it in the 
manner of the Fish-Hawk. 

This day's sport being at an end, as we journeyed homewards, we 
agreed to return the next morning, with the view of obtaining both the 
old and young birds ; but rainy and tempestuous weather setting in, it 
became necessary to defer the expedition till the third day following, 
when, with guns and men aU in readiness, we reached the rock. Some 
posted themselves at the foot, others upon it, but in vain. We passed 
the entire day, without either seeing or hearing an eagle, the sagacious 
birds, no doubt, having anticipated an invasion, and removed their young 
to new quarters. 

I come at last to the day which I had so often and so ardently desired. 
Two years had gone by since the discovery of the nest, in fruitless ex- i 
cursions ; but my wishes were no longer to remain ungratified. In re- 
turning from the little village of Henderson, to the house of Doctor 
Rankin, about a mile distant, I saw an eagle rise from a small enclosure ' 
not a hundred yards before me, where the Doctor had a few days before 
slaughtered some hogs, and alight upon a low tree branching over the 
road. I prepared my double-barrelled piece, which I constantly carry, i 
and went slowly and cautiously towards him. Quite fearlessly he await- I 
ed my approach, looking upon me with undaunted eye. I fired and he 
fell. Before I reached him he was dead. <^ With what dehght did I sur^ 
vey the magnificent bird ! Had the finest salmon ever pleased him as he 
did me ? — Never. I ran and presented him to my friend, with a pride 
which they alone can feel, who, Hke me, have devoted themselves from 
their earliest childhood to such pursuits, and who have derived from them 
their first pleasures. To others I must seem to " prattle out of fashion."" 
The Doctor, who was an experienced hunter, examined the bird with 
much satisfaction, and frankly acknowledged he had never before seen or 
heard of it. 

The name which I have chosen for this new species of Eagle, " The 
Bird of Washington," may, by some, be considered as preposterous and 


unfit ; but as it is indisputably the noblest bird of its genus that has yet 
been discovered in the United States, I trust I shall be allowed to honour 
it with the name of one yet nobler, who was the saviour of his country, 
and whose name will ever be dear to it. To those who may be curious 
to know my reasons, I can only say, that, as the new world gave me birth 
and liberty, the great man who ensured its independence is next to my 
heart. He had a nobility of mind, and a generosity of soul, such as are 
seldom possessed. He was brave, so is the eagle ; like it, too, he was the 
terror of his foes ; and his fame, extending from pole to pole, resembles 
the majestic soarings of the mightiest of the feathered tribe. If America 
has reason to be proud of her Washington, so has she to be proud of her 
. Great Eagle 

In the month of January following, I saw a pair of these eagles flying- 
over the Falls of the Ohio, one in pursuit of the other. The next day I 
saw them again. The female had relaxed her severity, had laid aside 
her coyness, and to a favourite tree they continually resorted. I pur- 
sued them unsuccessfully for several days, when they forsook the place. 

The flight of this bird is very different from that of the White-headed 
Eagle. The former encircles a greater space, whilst sailing keeps nearer 
to the land and the surface of the water, and when about to dive for fish 
falls in a spiral manner, as if with the intention of checking any retreat- 
ing movement which its prey might attempt, darting upon it only when 
a few yards distant. The Fish-hawk often does the same. When rising 
with a fish, the Bird of Washington flies to a considerable distance, form- 
ing, in its line of course, a very acute angle with the surface line of the 
water. My last opportunity of seeing this bird, was on the 15th of No- 
vember 1821, a few miles above the mouth of the Ohio, when two passed 
over our boat, moving down the river with a gentle motion. In a letter 
from a kind relative, Mr W. Bakewell, dated, " Falls of the Ohio, July 
1819," and containing particulars relative to the Swallow-tailed Hawk 
{Falcofinratus), that gentleman says : — " Yesterday, for the first time, 
I had an opportunity of viewing one of those magnificent birds, which 
you call the Sea Eagle, as it passed low over me, whilst fishing. I shall 
be really glad when I can again have the pleasure of seeing your draw- 
ing of it."" 

Whilst in Philadelphia, about twelve months ago, I had the gratifi- 
cation of seeing a fine specimen of this Eagle at Mr Beano's museum. It 
was a male in fine plumage, and beautifully preserved. I wished to pur- 



chase it with a view to carry it to Europe, but the price put upon it was 
above my means. 

My excellent friend Richaed Harlak, M. D. of that city, speaking 
of this bird in a letter dated " Philadelphia, August 19, 1830," says, 
" That fine specimen of Washington Eagle, which you noticed in Braxo's 
museum, is at present in my possession. I have deposited it in the Aca- 
demy, where it will most likely remain." I saw the specimen alluded to, 
which, in as far as I could observe, agreed in size and markings exactly 
with my drawing, to which, however, I could not at the time refer, as it 
was, with the whole of my collection, deposited in the British Museum, 
under the care of my ever kind and esteemed friend J. G. Children, Esq. 
of that Institution. 

The glands containing the oil used for the purpose of anointing the 
surface of the plumage were, in the specimen represented in the plate, ex- 
tremely large. Their contents had the appearance of hog's lard, which 
had been melted and become rancid. This bird makes more copious use 
of that substance than the White-headed Eagle, or any of the tribe to 
which it belongs, excepting the Fish-hawk, the whole plumage looking, 
upon close examination, as if it had received a general coating of a thin 
clear dilution of gum-arabic, and presenting less of the downy gloss ex- 
hibited in the upper part of the White-headed Eagle's plumage. The 
male bird weighs 1 4^ lb. avoirdupois, and measures 3 feet 7 inches in 
length, and 10 feet 2 inches in extent. 

Falco AVashingtonit. 

Adult Male. Plate XI. 

Bill shortish, very deep, compressed ; upper mandible with the dor- 
sal outline forming the third of a circle, rounded above, sloping and flat- 
tish on the sides, nearly straight with a slight obtuse process, on the 
acute, overlapping edges, the tip deflected, trigonal, acute, at its lower 
part perpendicular to the gap line ; lower mandible convex in its dorsal 
outline, with inflected acute edges, which are deflected at the end. A 
naked cere, in the fore part of which are the oblong, oblique, nearly 
dorsal, open nostrils, which have a process from the anterior margin, 
Head rather large, flat above. Neck robust, of ordinary length. TJody 
ovate. Feet rather short, with the leg long, the tarsus short, rounded, 


anteriorly covered with transversely naiTow scutella, posteriorly with 
large, laterally with small tuberculous scales ; toes robust, free, scutellate 
above, papillar and scabrous beneath, with large tubercles; claws curved, 
rounded, marginate beneath, very acute. 

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy ; feathers of the head, neck and 
breast narrow and pointed ; of the back, breast and belly, ovate, distinct, 
acute ; the wing-coverts narrow, acute, compact. Space between the 
beak and eye barish, being sparsely covered with feathers consisting of a 
shaft, downy at the base, prolonged into a hair. Eyebrow bare, and 
greatly projecting. Wings long, second quill longest, first considera- 
bly shorter. Tail of ordinary length, rounded^ extending considera- 
bly beyond the tips of the wings, of twelve broad acute feathers. Tarsus 
feathered one-third down. 

Bill bluish-black, the edges pale, the soft margin towards the com-\ 
missure, and the base of the under mandible yellow. Cere yellowish- 
brown. Lore light greenish-blue. Iris chestnut-brown. Feet deep yel- 
low ; claws bluish-black. Upper part of the head, hind neck, back, sca- 
pulars, rump, tail-coverts, and posterior tibial feathers blackish-brown, 
glossed with a coppery tint. Throat, fore-neck, breast and belly light 
brownish-yellow, each feather marked along the centre with blackish- 
brown. Wing-coverts light greyish-brown, those next the body becom- 
ing darker and approaching the colour of the back. Primary quiUs dark 
brown, deeper on their inner webs ; secondaries lighter, and on their 
outer webs of nearly the same light tint as their coverts. Tail uniform 
dark brown. Anterior tibial feathers greyish-brown. 

Length 3 feet 7 inches, extent of wings 10 feet 2 inches. Bill 3^ 
inches along the back ; along the gap, which commences directly under 
the eye, to the tip of the lower mandible 3y, and If deep. Length of 
wing when folded 32 inches ; length of tail 1 5 inches ; tarsus 4^, middle 
4|, hind claw 2^. 

The two stomachs large and baggy . Their contents in the indivi- 
dual described were fish, fishes' scales, and entrails of various kinds. In- 
testines large, but thin and transparent. — -^^ 

Passing over the affinity of this bird to the young of the White-headed 
Eagle {Falco leucocephalus), which Wilson has described and figured un- 
der the name of Sea Eagle {Falco Ossifragus Linn.), I shall institute a 
comparison between it and the true Sea Eagle or Cinereous Eagle {Falco 
Albkilla), which bears so strong a resemblance to the Bird of Washing- 


ton, that by a superficial observer they might be confounded, at least 
were he to view them separately. 

The White-tailed or Cinereous Eagle [Falco Albicilla of Linn^us), 
has, when full grown, the bill and iris yellow, the general colour of the 
upper parts pale greyish-brown, passing into wood-brown, the belly and 
thighs chocolate-brown, some of the upper tail-coverts, and the whole of 
the tail, white. In this state, it is sufficiently different from our bird, at 
least in colouring, but the young has a different appearance. In the 
bird just fuUy fledged, the bill is deep brown, tinged with blue, its 
base and the cere greenish-yellow ; the iris dark brown ; the feet gamboge- 
yellow ; the head deep brown, the bases of all the feathers of the body 
wliite ; on the hind neck the whole feathers white, excepting the ends 
which are deep brown ; the upper and middle back light brown, the tips 
umber ; the lower back white, with umber tips ; the tail greyish at its ori- 
gin, deep brown, with an irregular brownish -white patch along the inner 
webs, the fore-neck and upper breast brownish- white, spotted with umber, 
the tips being of the latter colour ; the belly pale brown, spotted with 
umber ; the thighs brown ; the under tail-coverts whitish, tipped with 
deep brown. In this state, and until nearly full grown, it has been de- 
scribed as a distinct species, under the name of Sea Eagle or Osprey 
(Falco Ossifragus, Linn.). 

The principal changes which take place in regard to colovir as the 
bird advances, are these : the bill first becomes bluish-black, and ulti- 
mately yellow, the cere becomes brighter, the iris assumes more of yellow, 
the white at the base of the plumage gradually disappears, the tail be- 
comes lighter, the general colour of the plumage at first darker, but ulti- 
mately paler. At the age of two years, the only period when the bird 
mucb resembles ours, it is as follows : — and here I shall make the descrip- 
tion correspond in its arrangement with that of the Bird of Washington, 
that the two may be more satisfactorily compared. 

The bill corresponds with that of our bird, only that it is not so 
deep, and proportionally more elongated. The other circumstances men- 
tioned in the first paragraph of the description of the Bird of Washing- 
ton are the same in the Sea Easle. 

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy ; feathers of the head, neck and 
breast, narrow and pointed ; of the back, breast and belly, ovate, distinct, 
acute ; the wing-coverts ovate and pointed. Space between the beak and 
eye barish, being sparsely covered with bristly feathers. Eyebrow pro- 



jecting and bare on tlie edge. Wings long, fmirtli and fifth quills 
longest, the first considerably shorter. Tail of ordinary length, rounded, 
of the same length as the closed wing, and consisting of twelve broad 
acute feathers. Tarsus feathered one-third down. 

Bill bluish-black, brownish at the tip of the upper mandible, and 
along the greater part of the under ; yellowish at the edges of the lower. 
Cere greenish-yellow. Lore of the same colour. Iris darkish brown. 
Head and hind neck dark brown, the latter still marked with white. 
Fore neck and breast brownish white, longitudinally marked with deep 
brown. Upper parts in general pale brown, spotted with deeper, some of 
the scapulars glossed with purple. I^ower back white, the tips umber. 
Tail-coverts brownish-grey. Base, outer webs and tips of tail-feathers 
deep bro^vn ; inner webs and part of outer near the tip brownish-white. 
Belly pale brown spotted with umber. Primaries brownish-black, secon- 
daries greyish-brown. 

Length 3 feet, extent of wings 6 feet 9 inches ; bill 3i inches along 
the back, I^ deep. 

All circumstances duly considered, the Bird of Washington stands 
forth as the champion of America, sui speciei, and henceforth not to be 
confounded with any of its rivals or relatives. If ornithologists are 
proud of describing new species, I may be allowed to express some 
degree of pleasure in giving to the world the knowledge of so majestic 
a bird. 


( 66 ) 


Icterus Baltimore. Daud. 

PLATE XII. Male in different states of Plumage, and Nest. 

No traveller who is at all gifted with the faculty of observation, can 
ascend that extraordinary river, the Mississippi, in the first days of 
antmnn, without feeling enchanted by the varied vegetation which 
adorns its alluvial shores : — The taU Cotton-tree descending to the very 
margin of the stream, the arrow-shaped Ash mixing its branches with 
those of the Pecan and Black Walnut, immense Oaks and numerous spe- 
cies of Hickory, covering with their foliage the densely tangled Canes, from 
amongst which, at every step. Vines of various kinds shoot up, winding 
round the stems and interlacing their twigs and tendrils, stretching from 
one branch to another, until they have reached and overspread the whole, 
like a verdant canopy, forming one solid mass of richest vegetation, in the 
fore ground of the picture ; whilst, wherever the hills are in view, the great 
Magnolias, the Hollies, and the noble Pines, are seen gently waving their 
lofty heads to the breeze. 

The current becomes rapid, and ere long several of the windings of 
the great stream have been met and passed, and with these new scenes 
present themselves to the view. The forest at this place, as if in doleful 
mourning at the sight of the havock made on its margin by the impetuous 
and regardless waters, has thrown over her a ragged veil, produced by 
the long dangling masses that spread from branch to branch over the cy- 
press trees. The dejected Indian's camp hes in your sight. He casts a 
melancholy glance over the scene, and remembers that he is no longer the 
peaceful and sole possessor of the land. Islands, one after another, come 
in sight, and at every winding of the stream you see boats propelled by 
steam ascending the river, and others, without such aid, silently gliding 
with the current. 

Much might the traveller find to occupy his mind, and lead him into 
specvilations regarding the past, the present, and the future, were he not 
attracted by the clear mellow notes, that issue from the woods, and gra- 
tified by the sight of the brilliant Oriole now before you. In solitudes 
like these, the traveller might feel pleased with any sound, even the howl 


of the wolf, or the still more dismal bellow of the alligator. Then how 
delightful must it be to hear the melody resulting from thousands of mu- 
sical voices that come from some neighbouring tree, and which insensibly 
leads the mind, with whatever it may previously have been occupied, 
first to the contemplation of the wonders of nature, and then to that of 
the Great Creator himself. 

Now we have ascended the mighty river, have left it, and entered the 
still more enchanting Ohio, and yet never for a day have we been with- 
out the company of the Oriole. Here, amongst the pendulous branches 
of the lofty Tulip-trees, it moves gracefully up and down, seeking in the 
expanding leaves and opening blossoms the caterpillar and the green beetle, 
which generally contribute to its food. Well, reader, it was one of these 
pendulous twigs which I took when I made the drawing before you. 
But instead of having cut it on the banks of the Ohio, I found it in the 
State of Louisiana, to which we shall return. 

The Baltimore Oriole arrives from the south, perhaps from Mexico, or 
perhaps from a more distant region, and enters Louisiana as soon as spring 
commences there. It approaches the planter's house, and searches amongst 
the surrounding trees for a suitable place in which to settle for the sea- 
son. It prefers, I beUeve, the trees that grow on the sides of a gentle 
declivity. The choice of a twig being made, the male Oriole becomes 
extremely conspicuous. He flies to the ground, searches for the longest 
and driest filaments of the moss, which in that State is known by the name 
of Spanish Beard, and whenever he finds one fit for his purpose, ascends 
to the favourite spot where the nest is to be, uttering all the while a con- 
tinued chirrup, which seems to imply that he knows no fear, but on the 
contrary fancies himself the acknowledged king of the woods. This sort 
of chiiTuping becomes louder, and is emitted in an angry tone, whenever 
an enemy approaches, or the bird is accidentally surprised, the sight of a 
cat or a dog being always likely to produce it. No sooner does he reach 
the branches, than with bill and claws, aided by an astonishing sagacity, 
he fastens one end of the moss to a twig, with as much art as a sailor 
might do, and takes up the other end, which he secures also, but to another 
twig a few inches off, leaving the thread floating in the air like a swing, 
the curve of which is perhaps seven or eight inches from the tAvigs. The 
female comes to his assistance with another filament of moss, or j^erhaps 
some cotton thread, or other fibrous substance, inspects the work which 
her mate has done, and immediately commences her operations, placing 



each thread in a contrary direction to those arranged by her lordly mate, 
and making the whole cross and recross, so as to form an irregular net- 
work. Their love increases daily as they see the graceful fabric ap- 
proaching perfection, until their conjugal affection and faith become as 
complete as in any species of birds with which I am acquainted. 

The nest has now been woven from the bottom to the top, and so se- 
cured that no tempest can carry it off without breaking the branch to 
which it is suspended. Remark what follows. This nest contains no 
warming substance, such as wool, cotton, or cloth, but is almost entirely 
composed of the Spanish moss, interwoven in such a manner that the air 
can easily pass through it. The parents no doubt are aware of the in- 
tense heat which will exist ere long in this part of the world, and more- 
over take especial care to place their nest on the north-east side of the 
trees. On the contrary, had they gone as far as Pennsylvania or New 
York, they would have formed it of the warmest and softest mate- 
rials, and have placed it in a position which would have left it exposed 
to the sun''s rays, the changes in the weather during the early period 
of incubation being sometimes so great there, that the bird looks on these 
precautions as necessary to ensure the life of its brood against intense cold, 
should it come, while it knows that the heat in these northern latitudes 
will not be so great as to incommode them. I have observed these 
sensible differences in the formation and position of the nests of the 
Baltimore Oriole, a great many times, as no doubt have other persons. 
The female lays from four to six eggs, and in Louisiana frequently rears 
two broods in a season. The period of incubation is fourteen days. The 
eggs are about an inch in length, rather broadly ovate, pale brown, 
dotted, spotted, and tortuously lined with dark brown. 

The movements of these birds as they run among the branches of trees 
differ materially from those of almost all others. They cling frequently 
by the feet in order to reach an insect at such a distance from them as to 
require the full extension of their neck, body, and legs, without letting 
go their hold. They sometimes glide, as it were, along a small twig, and 
at other times move sidewise for a few steps. Their motions are elegant 
and stately. Their song consists of three or four, or at most eight or ten, 
loud, full, and mellow notes, extremely agreeable to the ear. 

A day or two before the young are quite able to leave the nest, they 
often cling to the outside, and creep in and out of it like young Wood- 
peckers. After leaving the nest, they follow the parents for nearly a 


fortnight, and are fed by them. As soon as the mulbei'ries and figs become 
ripe, they resort to these fruits, and are equally fond of sweet cherries, 
strawberries, and others. During spring, their principal food is insects, 
wliich they seldom pursue on the wing, but which they search for with great 
activity, among the leaves and branches. I have seen the young of the 
first brood out early in May, and of the second in July. As soon as they 
are fully able to take care of themselves, they generally part from each 
other, and leave the country, as their parents had come, that is, singly. 

During migration, the flight of the Baltimore Oriole is performed high 
above all the trees, and mostly during day, as I have usually observed 
them alighting, always singly, about the setting of the sun, uttering a 
note or two, and darting into the lower branches to feed, and afterwards 
to rest. To assure myself of tliis mode of travelling by day, I marked 
the place where a beautiful male had perched one evening, and on going 
to the spot next morning, long before dawn, I had the pleasure of hearing 
his first notes as light appeared, and saw him search a while for food, and 
afterwards mount in the air, making his way to warmer climes. Their 
flight is straight and continuous. 

This beautiful bird is easily kept in cages, and may be fed on dried 
figs, raisins, hard-boiled eggs, and insects. When shot they will often 
clench the twig so firmly as to remain hanging fast to it until dislodged 
by another shot or a blow against the twig. 

The plumage of the male bird is not mature until the third spring, 
and I have therefore in my drawing represented the males of the first, 
second, and third years. The female will form the subject of another 
plate. The male of the first year was taken for a female by my engraver, 
during my absence, and marked as such, although some of the plates were 
corrected the moment I saw the mistake. 

The Baltimore Oriole, although found throughout the Union, is so par- 
tial to particular sections or districts, that of two places not twenty miles 
distant from each other, while none are to be seen in the one, a dozen 
pairs or more may be in the neighbourhood of the other. They are fond- 
est of hilly grounds, refreshed by streams. 


Icterus Baltimohe, Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 51. 
Oriolus Baltimore, Linn. Syst. Nat p. 162 — Gmel. Syst. vol. i. p. ^^9.— Lath. 

Ind. Omith. vol. i. p. 180. 
Baitimohe Oriole, Oriolus Baltimore, Wilson, Amer. Omith. vol. i. p. 23. 

PI. i. fig. 3. Male ; and vol. vi. p. 83. PI. S3, fig. 4. Female. 
Baltimore Bird, Lath. Synops. vol, ii. p. 432. 

Adult Male, three years old, in spring. Plate XII. Fig. 1. 

Bill conical, slender, longish, compressed, a little curved, very acute, 
with inflected acute margins ; upper mandible obtuse above, lower broad- 
ly obtuse beneath. Nostrils oval, covered by a membrane, basal. Head 
and neck of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length ; 
tarsus a little longer than the middle toe ; inner toe little shorter than the 
outer ; claws arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe twice the 
size of the others. 

Plumage blended, glossy. Wings longish, somewhat rounded, the first 
quill being almost as long as the second and third, which are the longest. 
Tail longish, rounded, and slightly forked, the feathers rather narrow, 
and acuminate. 

Bill and feet light blue. Iris orange. Head, throat, back part of the 
neck, fore part of the back, quills and larger secondaries, black; as are the 
two middle tail-feathers, and the base of all the rest. The whole under 
parts, the lesser wing-coverts, and the posterior part of the back, bright 
orange, deeply tinged with vermiUon on the breast and neck. The tips 
of the two middle tail-feathers, and the terminal ends of the others, of a 
duller orange. Quills, excepting the first, margined with white. 

Length 7| inches, extent of wings 12 ; bill | along the ridge, \^ along 
the gap ; tarsus |, toe 1. 

Male, two years old, in spring. Plate XII. Fig. 2. 

The distribution of the colours is the same as in the adult male, but 
the yellow is less vivid, the upper mandible is brownish-black above, and 
the iris is light-brown. 

Young Male, one year old, in spring. Plate XII. Fig. 1. 

The bin is dark brown above, pale blue beneath. Iris brown. Feet 
light blue. The general colour is dull brownish-yellow, tinged with oUve 
on the head and back. The wings are blackish-brown, the quills and 


large coverts margined and tipped with white. The lesser coverts are 
olivaceous, the tail destitute of black, and the under parts paler than in 
the adult, without any approach to the vivid orange tints displayed on it. 
Length 7^ inches. 

The Tulip-Tree. 

LiRioDENDRON TTjLiPiFEKA, Willd. Sp. Plant, vol. ii. p. 1254. Pursh. Flora Ame- 

ric. p. 332. Mich. Abr. Forest, de I'Amer. Sept. t. iii. p. 202, PL v Polyan- 

DRIA PoLYGYNiA, Linn, MagnolijE, Juss. 

This tree is one of the most beautiful of those indigenous to the United 
States, and attains a height of seventy, eighty, or even a hundred feet. 
The flowers are yellow and bright red, mixed with green, and upwards 
of three inches in diameter. The leaves are ovate at the base, truncato- 
bilobate at the end, with one or two lobes on each side, all the lobes acu- 
minate. It is generally distributed, but prefers rich soils. Its bark is 
smooth on the branches, cracked and fissured on the stems. The wood 
is yellow, hard, but easily wrought, and is employed for numerous pur- 
poses, particularly in the construction of houses, and for charcoal. The 
Indians often form their canoes of it, for which purpose it is well adapted, 
the trunk being of great length and diameter, and the wood light. In 
different parts of the United States, it receives the names of Poplar, White 
Wood, and Cane Wood. 

( 72 ) 


Fringilla hyemalis. Linn. 

PLATE Xlir. Male AND Female. 

This is one of our winter visitants from the north, which, along with 
many others, makes its appearance in Louisiana about the beginning of 
November, to remain a few months, and again, when spring returns, fly 
off, to seek in higher latitudes a place in which to nestle and rear its 
young. So gentle and tame does it become on the least approach of hard 
weather, that it forms, as it were, a companion to every child. Indeed, 
there is not an individual in the Union who does not know the little Snow 
Bird, which, in America, is cherished as tlie Robin is in Europe. I have 
seen it fed by persons from the " Old Country,"" and have always been 
pleased by such a sight. During fine weather, however, it becomes more 
timorous, and keeps aloof, resorting to the briar patches and the edges of 
the fences ; but even then it is easily approached, and will suffer a person 
on horseback to pass within a few feet of the place where it may be 
searching for food on the road, or the rails of the fences on which it is 

Although the Snow Birds live in little families, consisting of twenty, 
thirty, or more individuals, they seem always inclined to keep up a cer- 
tain degree of etiquette among themselves, and will not suffer one of their 
kind, or indeed any other bird, to come into immediate contact with 
them. To prevent intrusions of this kind, when a stranger comes too 
near, their little bills are instantly opened, their wings are extended, their 
eyes are seen to sparkle, and they emit a repelUng sound pecuKar to 
themselves on such occasions. 

They are aware of the advantages to be derived by them from larger 
birds scratching the earth, and in some degree keep company with Par- 
tridges, Wild Turkeys, and even Squirrels, for the purpose of picking up 
such food as these animals may deem beneath their notice. This habit is 
more easily observed in those which frequent the farm-yards, where the 
domestic fowls prove regular purveyors to them. The report of a gun, 
or the unexpected barking of a dog, cause the Httle flock to rise and 
perch either on the fences or an adjoining tree, where, however, they re- 


main only for a few minutes, after which they return to their avocations. 
They are particularly fond of grass-seeds, to procure which they often 
leap up from the ground, and dexterously seize the bending panicles. 

It is a true hopping bird, and performs its little leaps without the 
least appearance of moving either feet or legs, in which circumstance it 
resembles the Sparrows. Another of its habits, also indicative of affinity 
to these birds, is it resorting at night, during cold weather, to stacks of 
corn or hay, in which it forms a hole that affiards a snug retreat during 
the continuance of such weather, or its recurrence through the winter. 
In fine weather, however, it prefers the evergreen foliage of the holly, the 
cedar or low pines, among which to roost. Its flight is easy, and as 
spring approaches, and its passions become excited by the increased tem- 
perature, the males chase each other on wing, when their tails being fully 
expanded, the white and black colours displayed in them present a quite 
remarkable contrast. 

The migration of these birds is performed by night, as they are seen 
in a district one day, and have disappeared the next. Early in March, 
the Snow Bird is scarcely to be seen in Louisiana, but may be followed, 
as the season advances, retreating towards the mountains of the middle 
districts, where many remain during the summer and breed. Although I 
have never had the good fortune to find any of their nests, yet I have 
seen them rear their young in such places, and particularly in the neigh- 
bourhood of the Great Pine Forest, where many persons told me they 
had often seen their nests. 

During the period when the huckleberries are ripe, they feed partially 
upon them, being found chiefly on the poorest mountain lands, in which 
that shrub grows most abundantly. I have seen the Snow Birds far up 
the Arkansas, and in the province of Maine, as well as on our Upper 
Lakes. I have been told of their congregating so as to form large flocks 
of a thousand individuals, but have never seen so many together. Their 
flesh is extremely delicate and juicy, and on this account small strings of 
them are frequently seen in the New Orleans market, during the short 
period of their sojourn in that district. Towards the spring, the males 
have a tolerably agreeable song. 

The twig on which you see them is one of the Tupelo, a tree of great 
magnitude, growing in the low grounds of the state of Louisiana, and on 
one of which I happened to shoot the pair represented in the plate. 


Fhingilla hyemalis, Linn. Syst. Nat. Ed. 10. p. 183 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of 

Birds of the United States, p. 109. 
Emberiza hyemalis, Linn. Syst. Nat. Ed. 12. p. 308. 
Snow Biud, Fringilla nivalis, Wilson, American Ornithology, vol. ii. p. 129. 

PI. 16. fig. 6. 

Adult Male. Plate XIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, rather small, conical, very acute ; upper mandible a little 
broader than the lower, very slightly declinate at the tip, rounded on the 
sides, as is the lower, which has the edges inflected and acute ; the gap 
line straight, not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish, 
concealed by the feathers. Head rather large. Neck short. Body full. 
Legs of moderate length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, 
covered anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes scutellate above, free, 
the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws very slender, greatly compressed, 
acute and slightly arched, that of the hind toe little larger. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the 
third and fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long, the first little 
shorter. Tail long, forked, the lateral feathers curved outwards a little 
towards the tip. 

Bill white, tinged with red, dark coloured at the tip. Iris blackish- 
brown. Feet and claws flesh-coloured. Head, neck, fore part of the 
breast, back, wings and upper part of the sides, blackish-grey, deeper on 
the head. Quills margined with whitish ; tail of the same dark colour as 
the wings, excepting the two outer feathers on each side, which are white, 
as are the lower breast and abdomen. 

Length 6^ inches, extent of wings 9 ; beak \ along the ridge, ^ along 
the gap ; tarsus f , middle toe ^. 

Adult Female. Plate XIII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs from the male in being of a lighter grey, tinged on 
the back with brown. Length 5^ inches. 


The Large Tupelo. 

NyssA TOMENTOSA, Wild. Sp. PL vol. iv. p. 1113. Pursh, Flora Americ. p. 177- 

GKANDiDENTATA, Michaux, Arbr. Forest, de I'Amer. Sept. t. ii. p. 252. PI. 19. 

POLYGAMIA DiCECIA, Linn. El(eagni, Jztss. 

This species, which occurs in the Southern States only, growing in low 
and marshy grounds, attains a height of from seventy to eighty feet, with 
a diameter of eighteen or twenty inches some feet above the ground, al- 
though at the very base it is sometimes five or six feet. The leaves are 
five or six inches in length, elliptical, acuminate, distantly toothed, when 
young very downy, but finally smooth. The fruit is oblong, and of a 
dark purple colour. The wood is remarkably light and soft. 

( 76 ) 


Sylvia discolor. Vieill. 

PLATE XIV. Male and Female. 

This little bird has no song, at least I never heard any from it, ex- 
cepting a delicate soft whirr, ejaculated whilst it stands erect on the top 
of some rank weed or low bush. Its nest, which forms by far the most 
interesting part of its history, is uncommonly small and deUcate. Its 
eggs I have uniformly found to be four in number, and of a wliite colour, 
with a few brownish spots near the larger end. The nest is sometimes 
attached to three or four blades of tall grass, or hangs between two small 
sprigs of a slender twig. At first sight, it seems to be formed like that of 
the Humming Bird, the external parts being composed of delicate grey 
lichens and other substances, and skins of black caterpillars, and the in- 
terior finished with the finest fibres of dried vines. Two broods are rear- 
ed each season. 

In Louisiana I found this bird amongst our cotton fields, where it 
easily procures the small insects and flies of which its food is entirely 
composed. It is also found in the prairies along the skirts of the wood- 
lands. I have shot several within a few miles of Philadelphia, in the 
Jerseys, in a large opening where the woods had been cut down, and were 
beginning to spring up again. Its flight is light and short, it making 
an effort to rise to the height of eight or ten yards, and immediately sink- 
ing down to the grass or bushes. Whilst on the ground, where it re- 
mains a good deal, it searches amongst the leaves slowly and carefully, 
differing in this respect from all the true warblers with which I am ac- 
quainted. They go singly, and far apart, scarcely more than three or 
four being ever seen on an extent of twenty or thirty acres. It is one of 
the first birds that arrives in spring in Louisiana, and one of the first to 
depart, being rarely found after the first week of September. I never 
saw it farther east than on the ridges of the Broad Mountain, about 
twelve miles from Mauch Chunk ; but I have seen it on the Arkansas 
River, and high up on the Mississippi, as well as along the southern bor- 
ders of Lake Erie. The young are apt to leave the nest if discovered 
when unable to fly, and follow their parents through the grass to be fed. 


The plant on which a pair of Prairie Warblers are represented, is 
connnonly called Buffalo Grass, and is found all along the edges of our ex- 
tensive prairies, in the barrens of Kentucky, and in Louisiana, except- 
ing in the swamps, it being more inclined to grow in dry soil and stiff 

Sylvia discolor, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 83. 
Pbairie "Warbler, Sylvia minuta, WUs> Americ. Omith. voL iii. p. 87. PI. 25. 
fig. 4. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate XIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, slender, neai-ly straight, acute, as deep as 
broad at the base, slightly declinate at the tip. Nostrils oval, basal, la- 
teral, half closed by a membrane. Head rather small, elongated. Neck 
and body slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus longer than 
the middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few scutella, the upper long ; toes 
scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slen- 
der, compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. A few short bristles at the base of the 
upper mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the second quill longest. 
Tail longish, rounded. 

Bill brown, paler at the margin. Iris dark hazel. Feet and claws 
dark brown. The upper parts are light olive, the back spotted with 
brownish-red. The under parts, a line over the eye, and the cheeks, dull 
ochrey yellow, the sides of the neck and breast spotted with brownish- 
black. Lore, and a curved streak under the eye, black. Quills and tail- 
feathers deep brown, the former margined with pale yellow ; larger co- 
verts margined and tipped with the same, the second row almost entirely 
yellow, the three outer tail-feathers with a broad oblique band of white. 

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7 ; beak along the ridge ^, along 
the gap I ; tarsus f , middle toe ^. 

Adult Female. Plate XIV. Fig. 2. 

The female is nearly of the same size, and is coloured in the same 
manner, but wants the black markings about the eye, and has only two 
of the lateral tail-feathers white in the middle. The spots on the sides of 
the neck and breast are also much paler. 

Lenffth 4j. 

( 78 ) 


PLATE XV. Male and Female. 

This pretty species enters Louisiana from the south as early as spring- 
appears, at the period when most insects are found closer to the ground, 
and more about water-courses, than shortly after, when a warmer sun has 
invited every leaf and blossom to hail the approach of that season when 
they all become as brilliant as nature intended them to be. The little fel- 
low under your eye is then seen flitting over damp places, such as the 
edges of ponds, lakes, and rivers, chasing its prey with as much activity 
and liveliness as any other of the delicate and interesting tribe to which 
it belongs. It alights on every plant in its way, runs up and down it, 
picks here and there a small winged insect, and should one, aware of its 
approach, fly off:, pursues it and snatches it in an instant. 

I have placed a pair of these Warblers on a handsome species of Iris. 
This plant grows in the water, and in the neighbourhood of New Orleans, 
a few miles below that city, where I found it abundantly, and in bloom, in 
the beginning of April. Several flowers are produced upon the same 
stem. I have not met with it anywhere else, and the name of Louisiana 
Flag is the one commonly given it. 

As soon as the foliage of the forests begins to expand, the Blue Yel- 
low-backed Warbler flies to the tops of the trees, and there remains during 
the season, gleaning amongst the leaves and branches, in the same active 
manner as it employed when nearer the ground, not leaving off" its quick 
and short pursuit of small insects on the wing. When on the branches, 
it frequently raises its body (which is scarcely larger when stripped of 
its feathers than the first joint of a man's finger) upwards to the full 
length of its legs and toes, and is thus enabled to seize insects otherwise 
beyond its reach. 

Its flight is that of a true Sylvia. It ascends for a while in a very 
zigzag manner, and returns suddenly to nearly the same place, as if afraid 
to encounter the dangers of a prolonged excursion. I do not think it 
ever flies to the ground. It hops sidewise as well as straight forward, 


hangs like a Titmouse, and searches the cups of even the smallest flowers 
for its favourite insects. 

I am inclined to think that it raises two broods in a season, having 
seen and shot the young on the trees, in Louisiana, early in May, and 
again in the beginning of July. The nest is small, formed of lichens, 
beautifully arranged on the outside, and lined with the cottony sub- 
stances found on the edges of different mosses. It is placed in the 
fork of a small twig, and so far towards the extremity of the branches 
as to have forced me to cut them ten or fifteen feet from it, to pro- 
cure one. On drawing in the branch carefully to secure the nest, the 
male and female always flew toward me, exhibiting all the rage and ani- 
mosity befitting the occasion. The eggs are pure white, with a few red- 
dish dots at the larger end, and were in two instances four in number. 
It was several years before I discovered one of these nests, so small are 
they, and so difficult to be seen from the ground. 

This species is found throughout the United States, and may be con- 
sidered as one of the most beautiful of the birds of those countries. It 
has no song, but merely a soft, greatly prolonged twitter, repeated at 
short intervals. It returns southward, out of the Union, in the beginning 
of October. 

Sylvia americana, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 520. — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of 

Birds of the United States, p. 33. 
Yellow-backed Wahbler, Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 440. 
Blue Yellow-back "Warbler, Sylvia pusilla, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. iv. 

p. 17. PI. 28. fig. 3. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate XV. Fig. 1. 

Bill longish, depressed at the base, nearly straight, tapering to a 
point. Nostrils basal, oval, half concealed by the feathers. Feet of or- 
dinary length, slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few 
long scutella, acute behind, longer than the middle toe ; toes scutellate 
above, free ; claws arched, slender, compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, glossy. Wings longish, little curved, the first quill 
longest. Tail slightly forked, of ordinary length, the twelve feathers ra- 
ther narrow and obtuse. A few longish bristles at the base of the upper 


Bill brownish-black above, yellow beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet 
and claws dusky. Front and lore black. Head and back part of the 
neck bright rich blue, including the eye, above and beneath which is a 
slight streak of white. Back yellowish-green ; rump pale blue. Quills 
blackish, margined externally with bright blue, of which colour are the 
wing-coverts, the tips of the first two rows of which are white, forming 
two bands of that colour on the wings. Tail-feathers blackish, the outer 
webs blue, a white spot on the inner webs of the three outer, towards the 
end. Throat whitish, spotted with yellow ; a lunulated blackish spot on 
the lower neck in front ; breast yellow, spotted with orange ; the rest of 
the under parts yellowish, fading into white on the abdomen and under 
tail coverts. 

Length 4^ inches, extent of wings 6^ ; bill along the ridge J, along 
the gap I ; tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate XV. Fig. 2. 

Beak and feet of the same colour. Upper parts similarly coloured 
but paler, the frontal band wanting. Throat, fore neck and breast, yel- 
low, without the orange spots, or black lunule. The other parts as in 
the male, but fainter. 

Length 4 inches. 

The Coppery Iris, or Louisiana Flag. 

Iris cuprea, Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 30 Triandhia Monogynia, Linn. 

laiDES. Jiiss. 

'* Beardless, the stem equal in height to the leaves, which are broad- 
ly ensiform, the stigmas linear and short, all the petals emarginate, re- 
flected, and obovate, the inner shorter, the capsules large and hexagonal. 
Found on the banks of the Mississippi near New Orleans. Flowers of a 
beautiful copper colour, veined with purple." 

( 81 ) 


On my return from the Upper Mississippi, I found myself obliged to 
cross one of the wide Prairies, which, in that portion of the United States, 
vary the appearance of the country. The weather was fine, all around 
me was as fresh and blooming as if it had just issued from the bosom of na- 
ture. My napsack, my gun, and my dog, were all I had for baggage and 
company. But, although well moccassined, I moved slowly along, attract- 
ed by the brilliancy of the flowers, and the gambols of the fawns around 
their dams, to all appearance as thoughtless of danger as I felt myself. 

My march was of long diu-ation ; I saw the sun sinking beneath the 
horizon long before I could perceive any appearance of woodland, and 
nothing in the shape of man had I met with that day. The track which 
I followed was only an old Indian trace, and as darkness overshaded the 
prairie, I felt some desire to reach at least a copse, in which I might lie 
down to rest. The Night-hawks were skimming over and around me, at^ 
tracted by the buzzing wings of the beetles which form their food, and 
the distant howling of wolves, gave me some hope that I should soon ar- 
rive at the skirts of some woodland. 

I did so, and almost at the same instant a fire-light attracting my eye, 
I moved towards it, full of confidence that it proceeded from the camp of 
some wandering Indians. I M^as mistaken ; — I discovered by its glare 
that it was from the hearth of a small log cabin, and that a tall figure 
passed and repassed between it and me, as if busily engaged in household 

I reached the spot, and presenting myself at the door, asked the tall 
figure, which proved to be a woman, if I might take shelter under her roof 
for the night. Her voice was gruff, and her attire negligently thrown about 
her. She answered in the affirmative. I walked in, took a wooden stool, 
and quietly seated myself by the fire. The next object that attracted my 
notice was a finely formed young Indian, resting his head between his 
hands, with his elbows on his knees. A long bow rested against the log 
wall near him, while a quantity of arrows and two or three raccoon skins 
lay at his feet. He moved not ; he apparently breathed not. Accustomed 
to the habits of the Indians, and knowing that they pay Uttle attention 



to the approach of civilized strangers (a circumstance which in some coun- 
tries is considered as evincing the apathy of their character), I addressed 
him in French, a language not unfrequently partially known to the people 
in that neighbourhood. He raised his head, pointed to one of his eyes 
with his finger, and gave me a significant glance with the other. His face 
was covered with blood. The fact was, that an hour before this, as he 
was in the act of discharging an arrow at a raccoon in the top of a tree, the 
arrow had split upon the cord, and sprung back with such violence into 
his right eye as to destroy it for ever. 

FeeUng hungry, I inquired what sort of fare I might expect. Such 
a thing as a bed was not to be seen, but many large untanned bear and 
buflFalo hides lay piled in a corner. I drew a fine time-piece from my 
breast, and told the woman that it was late, and that I was fatigued. 
She had espied my watch, the richness of which seemed to operate upon 
her feehngs with electric quickness. She told me that there was plenty 
of venison and jerked buffalo meat, and that on renioving the ashes I 
should find a cake. But my watch had struck her fancy, and her curio- 
sity had to be gratified by an immediate sight of it. I took off the gold 
chain that secured it from around my neck, and presented it to her. She 
was all ecstacy, spoke of its beauty, asked me its value, and put the chain 
round her brawny neck, saying how happy the possession of such a watch 
should make her. Thoughtless, and, as I fancied myself, in so retired a 
spot, secure, I paid httle attention to her talk or her movements. I 
helped my dog to a good supper of venison, and was not long in satisfy- 
ing the demands of my own appetite. 

The Indian rose from his seat, as if in extreme suffering. He passed 
and repassed me several times, and once pinched me on the side so vio- 
lently, that the pain nearly brought forth an exclamation of anger. I 
looked at him. His eye met mine ; but his look was so forbidding, that 
it struck a chill into the more nervous part of my system. He again 
seated himself, drew his butcher-knife from its greasy scabbard, examined 
its edge, as I would do that of a razor suspected dull, replaced it, and 
again taking his tomahawk from liis back, fiUed the pipe of it with tobac- 
co, and sent me expressive glances whenever our hostess chanced to have 
her back toward us. 

Nevei- until that moment had my senses been awakened to the 
danger which I now suspected to be about me. I retui-ned glance for 


glance to my companion, and rested well assured that, whatever enemies 
I might have, he was not of their number. 

I asked the woman for my watch, wound it up, and under pretence 
of wishing to see how the weather might probably be on the morrow, took 
up my gun, and walked out of the cabin. I shpped a ball into each bar- 
rel, scraped the edges of my flints, renewed the primings, and returning 
to the hut, gave a favourable account of my observations. I took a few 
bear-skins, made a pallet of them, and calling my faithful dog to my side, 
lay down, with my gun close to my body, and in a few minutes was, to 
all appearance, fast asleep. 

A short time had elapsed, when some voices were heard, and from the 
corner of my eyes I saw two athletic youths making their entrance, bear- 
ing a dead stag on a pole. They disposed of their burden, and asking 
for whisky, helped themselves freely to it. Observing me and the 
wounded Indian, they asked who I was, and why the devil that rascal 
(meaning the Indian, who, they knew, understood not a word of EngUsh) 
was in the house. The mother — for so she proved to be, bade them 
speak less loudly, made mention of my watch, and took them to a 
corner, where a conversation took place, the purport of which it re- 
quired little shrewdness in me to guess. I tapped my dog gently. 
He moved his tail, and with indescribable pleasure I saw his fine eyes al- 
ternately fixed on me and raised towards the trio in the corner. I felt 
that he perceived danger in my situation. The Indian exchanged a last 
glance with me. 

The lads had eaten and drunk themselves into such condition, that I 
already looked upon them as hors de combat ; and the frequent visits of 
the whisky bottle to the ugly mouth of their dam I hoped would soon 
reduce her to a like state. Judge of my astonishment, reader, when I saw 
this incarnate fiend take a large carving-knife, and go to the grindstone 
to whet its edge. I saw her pour the water on the turning machine, and 
watched her working away with the dangerous instrument, until the cold 
sweat covered every part of my body, in despite of my determination to 
defend myself to the last. Her task finished, she walked to her reehno- 

sons, and said, " There, that'll soon settle him ! Boys, kill you- • — , and 

then for the watch." 

I turned, cocked my gun-locks silently, toviched my faithful compa- 
nion, and lay ready to start up and shoot the first who might attempt my 
life. The moment was fast approaching, and that night might have been 

F 2 


my last in this world, had not Providence made preparations for my 
rescue. All was ready. The infernal hag was advancing slowly, pro- 
bably contemplating the best way of despatching me, whilst her sons 
should be engaged with the Indian. I was several times on the eve of 
rising, and shooting her on the spot : — but she was not to be punished 
thus. The door was suddenly opened, and there entered two stout tra- 
vellers, each with a long rifle on his shoulder. I bounced up on my feet, 
and making them most heartily welcome, told them how well it was for 
me that they should have arrived at that moment. The tale was told in 
a minute. The drunken sons were secured, and the woman, in spite of 
her defence and vociferations, shared the same fate. The Indian fairly 
danced with joy, and gave us to understand that, as he could not sleep for 
pain, he would watch over us. You may suppose we slept much less than 
we talked. The two strangers gave me an account of their once having 
been themselves in a somewhat similar situation. Day came, fair and rosy, 
and with it the punishment of our captives. 

They were now quite sobered. Their feet were vinbound, but their 
arms were still securely tied. We marched them into the woods off the 
road, and having used them as Regulators were wont to use such delin- 
quents, we set fire to the cabin, gave all the skins and implements to the 
young Indian warrior, and proceeded, well pleased, towards the settlements. 
During upwards of twenty-five years, when my wanderings extended 
to all parts of our country, this was the only time at which my life was 
in danger from my fellow creatures. Indeed, so little risk do travellers 
run in the United States, that no one born there ever dreams of any to be 
encountered on the road ; and I can only account for this occurrence by 
supposing that the inhabitants of the cabin were not Americans. 

Will you believe, good-natured reader, that not m.any miles from the 
place where this adventure happened, and where fifteen years ago, no ha- 
bitation belonging to civilized man was expected, and very few ever seen, 
large roads are now laid out, cultivation has converted the woods into 
fertile fields, taverns have been erected, and much of what we Americans 
call comfort is to be met with. So fast does improvemeiit proceed in our 
abundant and free country. 

( 85 ) 


Falco peregrinus, Gmei,. 

PLATE XVI. Adult Male and Female. 

The French and Spaniards of Louisiana have designated all the spe- 
cies of the genus Falco by the name of " Mangeurs de Poulets ,•" and the 
farmers in other portions of the Union have bestowed upon them, accord- 
ing to their size, the appellations of " Hen Hawk," " Chicken Hawk," 
" Pigeon Hawk," &c. This mode of naming these rapacious birds is 
doubtless natural enough, but it displays Httle knowledge of the charac- 
teristic manners of the species. No bird can better illustrate the frequent 
inaccuracy of the names bestowed by ignorant persons than the present, 
of which on referring to the plate, you will see a pair enjoying themselves 
over a brace of ducks of different species. Very hkely, were tame ducks 
as plentiful on the plantations in our States, as wild ducks are on our 
rivers, lakes and estuaries, these hawks might have been named by some 
of our settlers " Mangeurs de Canards.'''' 

Look at these two pirates eating their dejeune a la Jhurchette, as it 
were, congratulating each other on the savouriness of the food in their 
grasp. One might think them real epicures, but they are in fact true 
gluttons. The male has obtained possession of a Green-winged Teal, 
while his mate has procured a Gadwal Duck. Their appetites are equal 
to their reckless daring, and they well deserve the name of " Pirates '' 
which I have above bestowed upon them. 

The Great-footed Hawk, or Peregrine Falcon, is now frequently to be 
met with in the United States, but within my remembrance it was a very 
scarce species in America. I can well recollect the time when, if I shot 
one or two individuals of the species in the course of a whole winter I 
thought myself a fortunate mortal ; whereas of late years I have shot two 
in one day, and perhaps a dozen in the course of a ^vinter. It is quite 
impossible for me to account for this increase in their number, the more 
so that our plantations have equally increased, and we have now three gun- 
ners for every one that existed twenty years ago, and all of them ready 
to destroy a hawk of any kind whenever an occasion presents itself. 


The flight of this bird is of astonisliing rapidity. It is scarcely ever 
seen sailing, unless after being disappointed in its attempt to secure the 
prey which it has been pursuing, and even at such times it merely rises 
with a broad spiral circuit, to attain a sufficient elevation to enable it to 
reconnoitre a certain space below. It then emits a cry much resembling 
that of the Sparrow Hawk, but greatly louder, like that of the European 
Kestrel, and flies off* swiftly in quest of plunder. The search is often 
performed with a flight resembhng that of the tame pigeon, until per- 
ceiving an object, it redoubles its flappings, and pursues the fugitive with 
a rapidity scarcely to be conceived. Its turnings, windings and cuttings 
through the air are now surprising. It foUows and nears the timorous 
quarry at every turn and back-cutting which the latter attempts. 
Arrived within a few feet of the prey, the Falcon is seen protruding his 
powerful legs and talons to their full stretch. His wings are for a mo- 
ment almost closed ; the next instant he grapples the prize, which, if 
too weighty to be carried off" directly, he forces obliquely toward the 
groimd, sometimes a hundred yards from where it was seized, to kill it, 
and devour it on the spot. Should this happen over a large extent of 
water, the Falcon drops his prey, and sets off" in quest of another. On 
the contrary, should it not prove too heavy, the exulting bird carries it 
off to a sequestered and secure place. He pursues the smaller Ducks, 
Water-hens, and other swimming birds, and if they are not quick in 
diving, seizes them, and rises with them from the water. I have seen 
this Hawk come at the report of a gun, and carry off a Teal not thirty 
steps distant from the sportsman who had killed it, with a daring assu- 
rance as surprising as unexpected. This conduct has been observed by 
many individuals, and is a characteristic trait of the species. The largest 
duck that I have seen this bird attack and grapple with on the wing is 
the Mallard. 

The Great-footed Hawk does not however content himself with water- 
fowl. He is generally seen following the flocks of Pigeons and even 
Blackbirds, causing great terror in their ranks, and forcing them to per- 
form variovis aerial evolutions to escape the grasp of his dreaded talons. 
For several days I watched one of them that had taken a particular 
fancy to some tame pigeons, to secure which it went so far as to enter 
their house at one of the holes, seize a bird, and issue by another hole 
in an instant, causing such terror among the rest as to render me fearful 


that they would abandon the place. However, I fortunately shot the 

They occasionally feed on dead fish that have floated to the shores or 
sand bars. I saw several of them thus occupied while descending the 
Mississippi on a journey undertaken expressly for the pvirpose of observ- 
ing and procuring different specimens of birds, and which lasted four 
months, as I followed the windings of that great river, floating down it 
only a few miles daily. During that period, I and my companion count- 
ed upwards of fifty of these Hawks, and killed several, among which was 
the female represented in the plate now before you, and which was found 
to contain in its stomach bones of birds, a few downy feathers, the giz- 
zard of a Teal, and the eyes and many scales of a fish. It was shot on 
on the 26th December 1820. The ovary contained numerous eggs, two 
of which were as large as pease. 

Whilst in quest of food, the Great-footed Hawk will frequently alight 
on the highest dead branch of a tree in the immediate neighbourhood of 
such wet or marshy grounds as the Common Snipe resorts to by prefer- 
ence. His head is seen moving in short starts, as if he were counting 
every little space below ; and while so engaged, the moment he spies a 
Snipe, down he darts like an arrow, making a rustling noise with his 
wings that may be heard several hundred yards off", seizes the Snipe, 
and flies away to some near wood to devour it. 

It is a cleanly bird, in respect to feeding. No sooner is the prey 
dead than the Falcon turns its belly upward, and begins to pluck it with 
his bill, which he does very expertly, holding it meantime quite fast in 
his talons ; and as soon as a portion is cleared of feathers, tears the flesh 
in large pieces, and swallows it witli great avidity. If it is a large bird, 
Jie leaves the refuse parts, but, if small, swallows the whole in pieces. 
Should he be approached by an enemy, he rises with it and flies off" into 
the interior of the woods, or if he happens to be in a meadow, to some 
considerable distance, he being more wary at such times than when he 
has alighted on a tree. 

The Great-footed Hawk is a heavy, compact, and firmly built bird 
for its size, and when arrived at maturity, extremely muscular, with very 
tough flesh. The plumage differs greatly according to age. I have seen 
it vary in different individuals, from the deepest chocolate-brown to light 
grey. Their grasp is so firm, that should one be hit while perched, and 
not shot quite dead, it will cUng to the branch until life has departed. 


Like most other Hawks, this is a solitary bird, excepting during the 
breeding season, at the beginning of which it is seen in pairs. Their sea- 
son of breeding is so very early, that it might be said to be in winter. I 
have seen the male caressing the female as early as the first days of De- 

This species visits Louisiana during the winter months only ; for al- 
though I have observed it mating then, it generally disappears a few 
days after, and in a fortnight later none can be seen. It is scarce in the 
Middle States, where, as well as in the Southern Districts, it lives along 
water-courses, and in the neighbourhood of the shores of the sea and 
inland lakes. I should think that they breed in the United States, 
having shot a pair in the month of August near the Falls of Niagara. 
It is extremely tenacious of life, and if not wounded in the wings, though 
mortally so in the body, it flies to the last gasp, and does not fall untU 
life is extinct. I never saw one of them attack a quadruped, although 
I have frequently seen them perched within sight of squirrels, which I 
thought they might easily have secured, had they been so inclined. 

Once when nearing the coast of England, being then about a hundred 
and fifty miles distant from it, in the month of July, I obtained a pair of 
these birds, which had come on board our vessel, and had been shot 
there. I examined them ^vith care, and found no difference between 
them and those which I had shot in America. They are at present 
scarce in England, where I have seen only a few. In London, some in- 
dividuals of the species resort to the cupola of St Paul's Cathedral, and 
the towers of Westminster Abbey, to roost, and probably to breed. 
I have seen them depart from these places at day dawn, and return in 
the evening. 

The achievements of this species are well known in Europe, where it 
is even at the present day trained for the chase. Whilst on a visit at 
Dalmahoy, the seat of the Earl of Morton, near Edinburgh, I had the 
pleasure of seeing a pair of these birds hooded, and with small brass bells 
on their legs, in excellent training. They were the property of that 

These birds sometimes roost in the hoUows of trees. I saw one re- 
sorting for weeks every night to a hole in a dead sycamore, near Louis- 
ville in Kentucky. It generally came to the place a little before sunset, 
alighted on the dead branches, and in a short time after flew into the hol- 
low, where it spent the night, and from whence I saw it issuing at dawn. 


I have known them also retire for the same purpose to the cre.vices of 
high diffs, on the banks of Green River in the same state. One winter 
when I had occasion to cross the Homochitta River, in the State of Mis- 
sissippi, I observed these Hawks in greater numbers than I had ever be- 
fore seen. 

Many persons believe that this Hawk, and some others, never drink 
any other fluid than the blood of their victims ; but this is an error. I 
have seen them alight on sand bars, walk to the edge of them, immerse 
their bills nearly up to the eyes in the water, and drink in a continued 
manner, as Pigeons are kno^vll to do, 

Falco pereghinus, Gmel. Syst. vol. i. p. 272 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 33 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 27. 
Peregrine Falcon, Lath. Synopsis, vol. i. p. 73, and Suppl. p. 18. 
Great-footed Hawk, Wilson, Americ. Ornith. vol. ix. p. 120, PI. 70". 

Adult Male. Plate XVI. Fig. 1. 

Rill shortish, as broad as deep, the sides convex, the dorsal outline 
convex from the base ; upper mandible cerate, the • edges blunt, slightly 
inflected, with a process towards the curvature on either side with a hol- 
low, the tip trigonal, descending obliquely, acute ; lower mandible invo- 
lute at the edges, truncate at the end, with a notdi near it, corresponding 
to the process above. Nostrils round, lateral, with a soft papilla in the 
centre, connected with the upper edge. Head rather large and round 
Neck shortish. Body ovate, anteriorly broad. Legs robust, short 
roundish ; tarsi covered all round with imbricated scales, the anterior 
largest, broad, and subhexagonal, the posterior small and rounded. 
Toes robust, covered above with broad scutella, scabrous and tubercular 
below ; middle and outer toes connected by a membrane ; claws round- 
ish, strong and curved, acute, marginate beneath. 

Plumage ordinary, compact, imbricated. Feathers of the back 
rounded, of the neck and breast anteriorly broad and rounded ; of the 
sides long, all acuminate ; of the thighs long and rounded. Space be- 
tween the bill and eye covered only with bristly feathers. Feathers of 
the forehead with bristly points. Wings long ; primary quills mode- 
rately broad, attenuated ; first quill notched near the end ; secondaries 


curved inwards, broad, obtuse, with an acumen. Tail-feathers broadish, 
rounded, the tail rather long, and nearly even. 

Bill blackish-blue at the tip, pale green at the base, cere oil-green ; 
bare orbital space orange. Iris hazel. Feet lemon-yellow ; claws 
brownish-black. Head and hind neck greyish-black, tinged with blue ; 
the rest of the upper parts dark bluish-grey, indistinctly barred with 
deep brown. Quills blackish-brown, the inner webs marked with trans- 
verse elliptical spots of reddish- white. Tail greyish-broAvn, marked with 
about twelve bars, the last of which is broad, the rest diminishing in size 
and intensity of tint. Throat and fore-neck white ; a broad band of 
blackish-blue from the angle of the mouth downwards ; cheeks whitish- 
grey ; sides, breast and thighs reddish- white, transversely marked with 
dark brown spots in longitudinal series. Under wing feathers whitish, 
transversely barred. 

Length 1 6^ inches, extent of wings 30 ; bill 1^ along the ridge ; 
tarsus 1^, middle toe 2^. 

The figure represents a male in full vigour. When the bird gets 
older, the colours of the upper parts acquire a lighter tint in the male, 
and sometimes the back is ash-grey ; but in the female, they gradually 
assume a deeper hue. 

Adult Female. Plate XVI. Fig. 2. 

The colour of the upper parts is more brown ; tips of the secondary 
quills more or less whitish, tail tipped with brownish-white ; throat and 
fore neck yellowish-white ; the latter longitudinally marked with gutti- 
form spots ; general colour beneath yellowish- white, marked with longi- 
tudinal broad spots. Vent-feathers reddish ; under tail-coverts marked 
with narrow bars. 

Length 19^ inches, extent of wings 36 ; beak 1^ along the ridge ; 
tarsus 2, middle toe 3|. 

( 91 ) 

PLATE XVII. Male and Female. 

I HAVE tried, kind reader, to give you a faithful representation of two 
as gentle pairs of Turtles as ever cooed their loves in the green woods. 
I have placed them on a branch of Stuartia, which you see ornamented 
with a profusion of white blossoms, emblematic of purity and chastity. 

Look at the female, as she assiduously sits on her eggs, embosomed 
among the thick foliage, receiving food from the bill of her mate, and 
listening with delight to his assurances of devoted affection. Nothing is 
wanting to render the moment as happy as could be desired by any couple 
on a similar occasion. 

On the branch above, a love scene is just commencing. The female, 
still coy and undetermined, seems doubtful of the truth of her lover, and 
virgin-Uke resolves to put his sincerity to the test, by delaying the grati- 
fication of his wishes. She has reached the extremity of the branch, her 
wings and tail are already opening, and she will fly off to some more se- 
questered spot, where, if her lover should follow her with the same assiduous 
devotion, they will doubtless become as blessed as the pair beneath them. 

The Dove announces the approach of spring. Nay, she does more :— 
she forces us to forget the chilUng blasts of winter, by the soft and melan- 
choly sound of her cooing. Her heart is already so warmed and so sweUed 
by the ardour of her passion, that it feels as ready to expand as the buds 
on the trees are, under the genial influence of returning heat. 

The flight of this bird is extremely rapid, and of long duration. 
Whenever it starts from a tree or the ground, on being unexpectedly ap- 
proached, its wings produce a whistling noise, heard at a considerable dis- 
tance. On such occasions, it frequently makes several curious windings 
through the air, as if to prove its capabihty of efficient flight. It seldom 
rises far above the trees, and as seldom passes through dense woods or 
forests, but prefers following their margins, or flying about the fences and 
fields. Yet, during spring, and particularly whilst the female is sitting on 
her eggs, the male rises as if about to ascend to a great height in the air, 
flapping his wings, but all of a sudden comes downwards again, describing 


a large circle, and sailing smoothly with wings and tail expanded, until 
in this manner he alights on the tree where his mate is, or on one very near 
it. These manoeuvres are frequently repeated during the days of incuba^ 
lion, and occasionally when the male bird is courting the female. No 
sooner do they alight than they jerk out their tail in a very graceful man- 
ner, and balance their neck and head. Their migrations are not so ex- 
tensive as those of the Wild Pigeon (Culumha migratoria) ; nor are they 
performed in such numbers, two hundred and fifty or three hundred 
doves together being considered a large flock. 

On the ground, along the fences, or on the branches of trees, the 
Carolina Turtle walks with great ease and grace, frequently jerking its 
tail. It is able to run with some swiftness when searching for food in 
places where it is scarce. It seldom bathes, but drinks by swallowing 
the water in long draughts, with the biU deeply immersed, frequently up 
to the eyes. 

They breed in every portion of the United States tliat I have visited, 
and according to the temperature of different locahties, rear either one or 
two broods in the season. In Louisiana, they lay eggs early in April, 
and sometimes in the month of March, and have there two broods. In 
the State of Connecticut, they seldom begin to lay before the middle of 
May, and as seldom have more than one brood. On the borders of Lake 
Superior, they are still later. They lay two eggs of a pure white colour, 
and having some degree of translucency. They make their nest in any 
kind of tree, on horizontal branches or twigs. It is formed of a few dry 
sticks, so loosely put together as to appear hardly sufficient to keep the 
eggs or young from falling. 

The roosting places which the Carolina Turtles prefer are among the 
long grasses found growing in abandoned fields, at the foot of dry stalks 
of maize, or on the edges of meadows, although they occasionally resort to 
the dead foliage of trees, as well as that of different species of evergreens. 
But in all these places they rise and fly at the approach of man, however 
dark the night may be, which proves that the power of sight which they 
then possess is very great. They seldom place themselves very near each 
other when roosting on the ground, but sometimes the individuals of a 
flock appear diffused pretty equally over a whole field. In this particu- 
lar, they greatly differ from our Common Wild Pigeon, which settles in 
compact masses on the limbs of trees during the night. The Doves, how- 
ever, like the Pigeons, are fond of returning to the same roosting grounds 


from considerable distances. A few individuals sometimes mix with the 
Wild Pigeons, as do the latter sometimes with the Doves. 

The Turtle Dove may with propriety be considered more as a gleaner 
than as a reaper of the husbandman's fields, scarcely ever committing any 
greater depredation than the picking up a few grains in seed-time, after 
which it prefers resorting to those fields from which the grain has been 
cut and removed. It is a hardy bird, and stands the severest winters of 
our Middle States, where some remain the whole year. 

The flesh of these birds is remarkably fine, when they are obtained 
young and in the proper season. Such birds become extremely fat, are 
tender and juicy, and in flavour equal in the estimation of some of my 
friends, as well as in my own, to that of the Snipe or even the Woodcock ; 
but as taste in such matters depends much on circumstances, and perhaps 
on the whim of individuals, I would advise you, reader, to try for your- 
self. These birds require good shooting to bring them down, when on 
wing, for they fly with great swiftness, and not always in a direct manner. 
It is seldom that more than one can be killed at a shot when they are fly- 
ing, and rarely more than two or three when on the ground, on account 
of their natural propensity to keep apart. 

In winter, they approach the farm-houses, feed among the Poultry, 
Sparrows, Grakles, and many other birds, and appear very gentle ; but no 
sooner are they frequently disturbed or shot at, than they become ex- 
tremely shy. When raised from the nest, they are easily tamed. I have 
even known some instances of their breeding in confinement. When 
caught in traps and cooped, they feed freely, and soon become fat, when 
they are excellent for the table. ^ 

When shot, or taken alive in the hand, this and our other species of 
Pigeon, lose the feathers on the slightest touch, a circumstance peculiar 
to the genus, and to certain gallinaceous birds. 

The Stuartia Malacodendron, on which I have placed the two pairs 
alluded to at the commencement of this article, is a tree of small height, 
which grows in rich grounds at the foot of hills not far from water-courses. 
The wood is brittle and useless, the flower destitute of scent, but extreme- 
ly agreeable to the eye. Little clusters of twenty or thirty of these trees 
are dispersed over the southernmost of the United States. I have never 
met with it in the Middle, Western or Northern Districts. 


CoLUMRA CAROLiNENSis, Linji. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 286. — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. 
p. 613 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 119. 

Carolina Pigeon, Lath. Syn. voL iv. p. 663. 

Carolina Pigeon, or Turtle Dove, Columba carolinensis, Wils. Amer. Or- 
nith. vol. V. p. 91. PL xliii. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate XVII. Fig. 1, 1. 

Bill straight, of ordinary length, rather slender, broader than deep at 
the base, with a tumid fleshy covering, compressed towards the end, 
rather obtuse ; upper mandible slightly decUnate at the tip ; edges in- 
volute. Head small. Neck slender. Body rather full. Legs short and 
strong ; tarsus covered anteriorly with scutella, rather rounded ; toes 
scutellate, slightly webbed at the base ; claws short, depressed, obtuse. 

Plumage compact on the back, blended and soft on the head, neck 
and under parts. Wings long, second quiU longest. Tail wedge-shaped, 
long, of fourteen feathers, the middle ones tapering, the rest obtuse. 

Bill blackish, at the base carmine-purple. Iris hazel ; orbit greenish- 
blue. Feet carmine-purple ; claws dusky. Crown of the head, and up- 
per part of the neck, bright greenish-blue ; the rest of the upper parts, 
including the wing-coverts, light yellowish-brown, tinged with light blue, 
of which colour are the edges of the wings, and the outer webs of the 
quills towards the base. Some of the proximal wing-coverts spotted with 
black. Forehead, and sides of the head brownish-yellow, which colour 
predominates on the under parts, the breast and neck tinged with blue, 
and the abdomen and under tail-coverts paler. Quills dusky, margined 
externally with whitish, the last secondaries light brown and spotted with 
black. The two middle tail-feathers, and the outer webs of the next five 
on each side like the back ; all the feathers, excepting the middle ones, 
have a spot of black about an inch from their extremity, the space be- 
tween which and the base is bright greenish-blue, that beyond it being- 
paler and tinged with brown, excepting in the three outer feathers, where 
it is white, as is the outer web of the outermost. 

Length 12 inches, extent of wings 17 ; bill along the ridge /j, along 
the gap f . 

Adult Female. Plate XVII. Fig. 2, 2. 

The female is somewhat duller in the tints of the plumage ; the bright 


blue of the head is wanting, that part being coloured like the back ; the 
neck and breast have less blue, and the white of the tail is less pure. 
Length 11 inches, extent of wings 15^ ; bill as in the male. 

The White-flowered Stuartia. 

SiuAmiA Malacodendeon, Willd. Sp. TL vol. iiL p. 840. Stuartia virginica, 
Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 451 Monadelphia Polyakdeia, Linn. 

A small tree, with smooth spreading branches ; ovate-acute leaves, 
generally entire at the margins ; axillar flowers, which are solitary, or 
two together ; large white corollas, of five rounded petals, and reddish- 
purple stamina. The leaves vary in being sometimes serrated, and more 
or less downy. It flowers from June to September. 

( 96 ) 


Troglodytes Bewickii. 


The bird represented under the name of Bewick's Wren I shot on 
the 19th October 1821, about five miles from St Francisville, in the State 
of Louisiana. It was standing as nearly as can be represented in the po- 
sition in which you now see it, and upon the prostrate trunk of a tree not 
far from a fence. My drawing of it was made on the spot. Another in- 
dividual was shot a few days after, by a young friend, Joseph R. Mason, 
who accompanied me on my rambles. In the month of November 1829, 
I had the pleasure of meeting with another of the same species, about fif- 
teen miles from the place above mentioned, and as it was near the house 
at which I was then on a visit, I refrained from killing it, in order to 
observe its habits. For several days, during which I occasionally saw it, 
it moved along the bars of the fences, with its tail generally erect, look- 
ing from the bar on which it stood towards the one next above, and 
caught spiders and other insects, as it ran along from one pannel of the 
fence to another in quick succession, now and then uttering a low twitter^ 
the only sound which I heard it emit. It occasionally hopped sidewise, 
now with its head towards me, and again in the contrary direction, at 
times descending to the ground, to inspect the lowest bar, but only for 
a few moments. At other times, it would fly to a peach or apple-tree 
close to the fence, ascend to its top branches, always with hopping move- 
ments, and, as if about to sing, would for an instant raise its head, and 
lower its tail, but without giving utterance to any musical notes. It 
would then return to the fence, and continue its avocations as already de- 
scribed. I shot the bird, and have it preserved in spirits. 

In shape, colour and movements, it nearly resembles the Great Ca- 
rolina Wren, and forms a kind of link between that bird and the House 
Wren, an account of which you will find in this volume. It has not the 
quickness of motion, nor the Uveliness, of either of these birds. Where 
it comes from, and whither it goes to breed, are quite unknown to me. 

I have honoured this species with the name of Bewick, a person too 


well known for his admirable talents as an engraver on wood, and for his 
beautiful work on the Birds of Great Britain, to need any eulogy of 
mine. I enjoyed the pleasure of a personal acquaintance with that gen- 
tleman, and found him at all times a most agreeable, kind, and benevolent 

The little twig on which the Wren is perched, is from the tree com- 
monly called the Iron-wood Tree, a species of Elm, the wood of which 
is very hard and of close texture. The branches, and sometimes the 
stem, are ornamented with longitudinal expansions, resembhng cork in 
their nature, but much harder. 

Troglodytes Bewickii. 

Adult Male. Plate XVIII. 

Bill nearly as long as the head, subulato-conical, acute, slightly 
arched, compressed. Mandibles of equal breadth, with acute margins, 
the gap line a little arched, and slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils 
basal, oval, half closed by a membrane. Feet longish, proportionally 
rather robust ; tarsus anteriorly scutellate, compressed, acute behind, 
longer than the middle toe ; toes free, scutellate above, the lateral ones 
nearly equal, the posterior long ; claws slender, compressed, acute, arch- 
ed, that of the hind toe much larger. 

Plumage rather compact above, blended beneath. Wings short, very 
convex, rounded ; first quill short, third and fourth longest. Tail erect, 
long, of ten feathers, much rounded, the outer feather not more than 
half the length of the middle one, all rounded at the end. 

Bill blackish-brown above, pale blue beneath. Iris brown. Feet and 
claws pale brown. The general colour of the upper parts is rusty brown, 
that of the lower greyish-blue. Quills and wing-coverts barred with 
rusty brovra and black, as are the two middle tail-feathers. Outer web 
of the lateral tail-feather, and the terminal portion of that of the others, 
whitish, barred with black, their middle parts black, toward the base 
barred with rusty brown. A line of pale brownish-yellow extending 
from the upper mandible, over the eye, to half way down the neck. The 
rump feathers white towards their base, with central spots. 

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 6^ ; beak along the ridge J, along 
the gap I ; tarsus Z^, middle toe }^, hind toe ^\. 



The Iron-wood Tree, or Wahoo. 

Ulmus alata, Pursh. Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 200. Mich. Arbr. Forest, de I'Amer. 
Sept. vol. vi. p. 275. PL 5 Pentandria Digynia, Linn. AmentacEjE, 7m«s. 

Twigs winged on two opposite sides with a corky substance ; leaves 
oblongo-oval, acute, nearly equal at the base ; fruit downy and ciliated. 
This species of Elm occurs only in the Southern States, where it grows 
by the sides of rivers and in marshes. It attains a height of from thirty 
to forty feet. 

( 99 ) 



Much and justly as the song of the Nightingale is admired, I am in- 
clined, after having often hstened to it, to pronounce it in no degree su- 
perior to that of the Louisiana Water Thrush. The notes of the latter 
bird are as powerful and mellow, and at times as varied. 

This bird is a resident of the low lands of the States of Louisiana and 
Mississippi, and is to be found at all seasons in the deepest and most 
swampy of our cane brakes, from which its melodies are heard to a con- 
siderable distance, its voice being nearly as loud as that of the Wood 
Thrush. The bird may be observed perched on a low bough scarcely 
higher than the tops of the canes, in an erect attitude, swelling its 
throat, and repeating several times in succession sounds so approaching 
the whole two octaves of a good piano-forte, as almost to induce the hearer 
to imagine that the keys of that instrument are used on the occasion. 
The bird begins on the upper key, and progressively passes from one to 
another, until it reaches the base note, this last frequently being lost 
when there is the least agitation in the air. Its song is heard even in the 
winter, when the weather is calm and warm. 

I have taken the liberty of naming this first songster of our groves 
after the country which has afforded me my greatest pleasures, not, how- 
ever, as I trust I shall prove in the sequel, without having assured my- 
self that in habits, and somewhat in colour, it differs from its kinsman 
the Common Water Thrush. 

The Common Water Thrush is at all times, and in every situation, 
shy even to wildness. The Louisiana Water Thrush is so gentle and 
unsuspicious as to allow a person to approach within a few yards of it. 
The species met with in the Eastern and Northern Districts during the 
spring months only, has its feet of a clear and transparent flesh-colour, 
and its tail even. The Southern bird, on the contrary, has the feet of a 
deep bluish-brown, and the tail forked. Never have I seen it wade 
through water, although it is always near and over it ; while in the bird 
of the Northern Districts this is a prominent habit. I may add, that I never 

G 2 


heai'd the latter species sing, but merely utter a single smart twit, when 
started by surprise. It moreover frequently feeds on minute water-in- 
sects, none of which I have ever been able to discover on dissecting the 
present species. 

The flight of this bird is easy, and continued amongst the trees, just 
above the canes, or closer over the ground, when it is passing along their 
skirts, gliding smoothly through the air. When alighted, its body is 
continually vibrating, the tail being at the same time alternately jerked 
out and closed again. It walks prettily along the branches, or on the 
ground, but never hops. It feeds on insects and larvae, often pursuing 
tlie former on wing, as well as on the ground, yet in seizing them it does 
not produce the clicking sound heard from the biU of Flycatchers. 

I think its proper station in a general system would be between the 
Golden-crowned Thrush and the Water Thrush. Its location, howevei-, 
I leave to the consideration of better ornithologists than myself. 

The nest of this species is commenced in the first days of April. I 
may here remark, that I am not aware that the Common Water Thrvish 
breeds in the United States. It is placed at the foot and the 
roots of a tree, or by the side of a decayed log, and is so easily discovered 
at times that my eyes have once or twice been attracted by it, wliilst 
walking about in search of something else. The outer parts are formed 
of dry leaves and mosses, the inner of fine grasses, with a few hairs, or 
the dried fibres of the Spanish Moss, which so much resemble horse-hair 
as scarcely to be distinguished from it. The female lays four or five 
eggs, and takes fourteen days to hatch them. When disturbed on her 
nest at an early period of incubation, she merely flies off'; but if discovered 
towards the conclusion of that period, she is seen tumbling and rolling 
about, spreading her wings and tail, as if in the last agonies of despair, ut- 
tering all the while a most piteous tone, to entice the intruder to follow her. 
The yovmg leave the nest in about ten days, and follow the parent 
from place to place, on the ground, where they are fed until able to fly. 
I have not been able to ascertain whether this bird rears more than one 
brood in a season, but am inclined to believe that it does not. The eggs 
ai'e flesh-coloured, sprinkled with darker red on the large end. 

During winter, this bird becomes so plump as to be a pure mass of 
fat, and furnishes extremely delicate eating. I have never seen this 
species farther eastward than Georgia, nor higher on the Ohio than the 
cane brakes about Henderson. 


The plant on which I have placed a male (the sexes being so nearly 
alike as to offer no external cUstinctive characters) is commonly called the 
Indian Turnip. It grows abundantly in the places frequented by this 
bird. The root, which is like a small potato, is extremely pungent. 


Adult Male. Plate XIX. 

Bill of ordinary length, straight, slender, tapering to a point, broadish 
at the base, compressed toward the end ; upper mandible with the edges 
sharp, and destitute of a notch. Nostrils basal, rounded, half closed by 
a membrane. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender ; tarsus a little 
longer than the middle toe ; toes free ; claws slender, much compressed, 
arched, acute, the hind one not much larger than that of the middle toe. 

Plumage ordinary, soft, slightly glossy ; a few bristles at the base of 
the upper mandible. Wings of ordinary length ; first quill longest. 
Tail shortish, a little notched, the feathers rather obtuse. 

Bill deep brown above, black at the tip, flesh-coloured beneath. Iris 
deep brown. Feet and claws brown, tinged with blue. The general co- 
lour of the upper parts is dull greenish-brown, that of the under parts 
yellowish- white. A streak of the latter colour over the eye, from the 
base of the upper mandible, and another from the base of the lower, curv- 
ing upwards behind the ear-coverts. Fore-neck and breast marked with 
sagittiform spots of blackish-brown ; sides under the wings streaked with 
the same colour. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 9g ; bill along the ridge 5, along 
the gap f ; tarsvis |. 

The female, as has been said, hardly differs from the male in appeai'- 

The Indian Turnip. 

Arum triphyllum, TVilld. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 480. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 399. 


Somewhat caulescent ; leaves ternate, with ovate acuminate leaflets ; 
spadix clavate ; flowers monoecious. The flowers are green and purple, 
and the -roots are used by the Indians as a remedy for colic. 

( 102 ) 


Sylvia solitaria, Wils. 

PLATE XX. Male akd Female. 

This pretty little Warbler is migratory, and arrives in Louisiana 
from the south, in the beginning of spring. It is found in open woods, 
as well as in the vicinity of ponds overgrown with low bushes and rank 
weeds. Along with a pair of Blue-winged Yellow Waiblers, I have re- 
presented a species of Hibiscus, which grows on the edges of these ponds. 
Its flowers are handsome, but unfortunately have no pleasant odour. 

The species which now occupies our attention is a busy, active bird, 
and is seen diligently searching among the foliage and grasses for the small 
insects on which it feeds, mounting now and then towards the tops of the 
bushes, to utter a few weak notes, which are in no way interesting. 

Its nest, which is singularly constructed, and of an elongated inverse- 
ly conical form, is attached to several stalks or blades of tall grass by its 
upper edge. The materials of which it is formed are placed obliquely 
from its mouth to the bottom. The latter part is composed of dried 
leaves, and is finished within with fine grass and lichens. The female 
lays from four to six eggs, of a pure white colour, with a few pale red 
spots at the larger end. The first brood is out about the middle of May, 
the second in the middle of July. The young disperse as soon as they 
are able to provide for themselves, this bird being of solitary habits. 

It leaves Louisiana in the beginning of October. I have never seen 
the species farther eastward than the State of Jersey, where I killed se- 
veral within a few miles of Philadelphia, not however until my last visit 
to that State in 1829. It is frequent in the barrens of Kentucky, and up 
the Mississippi, as far at least as St Genevieve, where I shot two indivi- 
duals many years ago. 

Its flight is short, undetermined, and is performed in zig-zag lines, as 
in most of its tribe. It sometimes ascends twenty or thirty yards in the 
air, as if with an intention of going to a great distance, but still moving 
in a zig-zag manner, when it suddenly turns about, and comes down near 
the place from which it set out. It does not chase insects on wing, but 
feeds in a great measure on the smaller kinds of spiders, not neglecting. 


however, to seize other insects when they come within reach. It remains 
ahnost constantly among the bushes, and is seldom seen on trees of any 

Sylvia solitaria, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 87. 
Blue-winged Yellow Wakbler, Wils. Amer, Ornith. vol. ii, p. 109. PI. 15. Fig.4. 

Adult Male. Plate XX. Fig. 1. 

Bill nearly as long as the head, straightish, subulato-conical, acute, 
as deep as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap line a little de- 
flected at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a 
membrane. Head rather small. Neck short. Body slender. Feet of 
ordinary length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered an- 
teriorly by a few scuteUa, the uppermost long ; toes scutellate above, the 
inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, compressed, 
acute, arched. 

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the 
second quill longest. Tail longish, rounded when expanded, slightly 
forked when closed. 

Bill black, with a pale margin. Iris dark brown. Feet and claws 
flesh-colour, tinged with yellow. Forehead, crown, and under parts of a 
rich bright-yeUow. Back of the head and neck, the back and upper tail 
coverts bright grass-green. Lore black. Wings greyish-blue, shghtly 
margined with paler, the first two rows of coverts tipped with whitish. 
Four middle tail-feathers greyish-blue, the outer webs of the rest, and an 
oblique portion of the outer feather at the end, of the same colour, their 
inner webs white.. 

Length 4| inches, extent of wings 7 ; bill along the ridge i, along 
the gap 1. 

Adult Female. Plate XX. Fig. 2. 

The female scarcely differs from the male in appearance, and is of near- 
ly the same dimensions. 


Large-flowered Hibiscus, Cotton Rose, or Wild AlthjEa. 
Hibiscus ghandiflorus, Mich. Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 46. Pursh. Fl. Amer. p. 455. — 


This beautiful species of Hibiscus, which does not precisely agree with 
any that I have seen described, although it is probably the above, is cha- 
racterised by its ovato-cordate, obtusely and irregularly serrated, acute, 
venous tough leaves, and its large rose-coloured flowers, which are deep- 
red at the base, and streaked with the same colovir. The corolla is about 
five inches in diameter, the anthers yellow. The stem and leaves are 
smooth. It grows in salt marshes, and by the edges of ]30ols. 

( 105 ) 


The population of many parts of America is derived from the refuse 
of every other country. I hope I shall elsewhere prove to you, kind 
reader, that even in this we have reason to feel a certain degree of pride, 
as we often see our worst denizens becoming gradually freed from error, 
and at length changing to useful and respectable citizens. The most de- 
praved of these emigrants are forced to retreat farther and farther from 
the society of the virtuous, the restraints imposed by which they find in- 
compatible with their habits and the gratification of their unbridled pas- 
sions. On the extreme verge of civilization, however, their evil propen- 
sities find more free scope, and the dread of punishment for their deeds, 
or the infliction of that punishment, are the only means that prove effec- 
tual in reforming them. 

In those remote parts, no sooner is it discovered that an individual has 
conducted himself in a notoriously vicious manner, or has committed 
some outrage upon society, than a conclave of the honest citizens takes 
place, for the purpose of investigating the case, with a rigour without 
which no good result could be expected. These honest citizens, selected 
from among the most respectable persons in the district, and vested with 
powers suited to the necessity of preserving order on the fi'ontiers, are 
named Regulators. The accused person is arrested, his conduct laid 
open, and if he is found guilty of a first crime, he is warned to leave the 
country, and go farther from society, within an appointed time. Should 
the individual prove so callous as to disregard the sentence, and remain 
in the same neighbourhood, to commit new crimes, then wo be to him ; 
for the Regulators, after proving him gviilty a second time, pass and exe- 
cute a sentence, which, if not enough to make him perish under the in- 
fliction, is at least for ever impressed upon his memory. The punishment 
inflicted is generally a severe castigation, and the destruction by fire of 
his cabin. Sometimes, in cases of reiterated theft or murder, death is 
considered necessary ; and, in some instances, delinquents of the worst 
species have been shot, after Avhich their heads have been stvick on poles, 
to deter others from following their example. I shall give you an account 
of one of these desperadoes, as I received it from a person who had been 
instrumental in bringing him to punishment. 


The name of Mason is still familiar to many of the navigators of the 
Lower Ohio and Mississippi. By dint of industry in bad deeds he be- 
came a notorious horse-stealer, formed a line of worthless associates from 
the eastern parts of Virginia (a State greatly celebrated for its fine breed 
of horses) to New Orleans, and had a settlement on Wolf Island, not far 
from the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi, from which he issued to 
stop the flat-boats, and rifle them of such provisions and other articles as 
he and his party needed. His depredations became the talk of the whole 
Western Country ; and to pass Wolf Island was not less to be dreaded 
than to anchor under the walls of Algiers. The horses, the negroes, and 
the caro-oes, his gang carried off and sold. At last, a body of Regulators 
undertook, at great peril, and for the sake of the country, to bring the 
villain to punishment. 

Mason was as cunning and watchful as he was active and daring. 
Many of his haunts were successively found out and searched, but the 
numerous spies in his employ enabled him to escape in time. One day, 
however, as he was riding a beautiful horse in the woods, he was met by 
one of the Regulators, who immediately recognised him, but passed him 
as if an utter stranger. Mason, not dreaming of danger, pursued his way 
leisurely, as if he had met no one. But he was dogged by the Regula- 
tor, and in such a manner as proved fatal to him. At dusk. Mason hav- 
ino- reached the lowest part of a ravine, no doubt well known to him, 
hoppled (tied together the fore-legs of) his stolen horse, to enable it to 
feed during the night without chance of straying far, and concealed him- 
self in a hollow log to spend the night. The plan was good, but proved 
his ruin. 

The Regulator, who knew every hill and hollow of the woods, marked 
the place and the log with the eye of an experienced hunter, and as he 
remarked that Mason was most efficiently armed, he galloped off to the 
nearest house, where he knew he should find assistance. This was easily 
procured, and the party proceeded to the spot. Mason, on being attacked, 
defended himself with desperate valour ; and as it proved impossible to se- 
evure him alive, he was brought to the ground with a rifle ball. His head 
was cut off, and stuck on the end of a broken branch of a tree, by the 
nearest road to the place where the affray happened. The gang soon dis- 
persed, in consequence of the loss of their leader, and this infliction of 
merited punishment proved beneficial in deterring others from following 
a similar predatory life. 


The punishment by castigation is performed in the following manner. 
The individual convicted of an offence is led to some remote part of the 
woods, under the escort of sometimes forty or fifty Regulators. When 
arrived at the chosen spot, the criminal is made fast to a tree, and a few 
of the Regulators remain with him, whilst the rest scour the forest, to as- 
sure themselves that no strangers are within reach, after which they form 
an extensive ring, arranging themselves on their horses, well armed with 
rifles and pistols, at equal distances and in each other's sight. At a given 
signal that "all's ready," those about the culprit, having provided them- 
.selves with young twigs of hickory, administer the number of lashes pre- 
scribed by the sentence, untie the sufFerer, and order him to leave the 
country immediately. 

One of these castigations which took place more within my immediate 
knowledge, was performed on a fellow who was neither a thief nor a mur- 
derer, but who had misbehaved otherwise sufficiently to bring himself un- 
der the sentence with mitigation. He was taken to a place where nettles 
were known to grow in great luxuriance, completely stripped, and so 
lashed with them, that although not materially hurt, he took it as a hint 
not to be neglected, left the country, and was never again heard of by 
any of the party concerned. 

Probably at the moment when I am copying these notes respecting 
the early laws of our frontier people, few or no Regulating Parties exist, 
the terrible examples that were made having impressed upon the new set- 
tlers a salutary dread, which restrains them from the commission of fla- 
grant crimes. 

( 108 ) 


PLATE XXI. Male and Female. 

It is where the Great Magnolia shoots up its majestic trunk, crowned 
with evergreen leaves, and decorated with a thousand beautiful flowers, 
that perfume the air around ; where the forests and fields are adorned 
with blossoms of every hue ; where the golden Orange ornaments the gar- 
dens and groves ; where Bignonias of various kinds interlace their climb- 
ing stems around the White-flowered Stuartia, and mounting still higher, 
cover the summits of the lofty trees around, accompanied Avith innumer- 
able Vines, that here and there festoon the dense foliage of the magnifi- 
cent woods, lending to the vernal breeze a slight portion of the perfume 
of their clustered flowers ; where a genial warmth seldom forsakes the at- 
mosphere ; where berries and fruits of all descriptions are met with at 
every step ; — in a word, kind reader, it is where Nature seems to have 
paused, as she passed over the Earth, and opening her stores, to have 
strewed with unsparing hand the diversified seeds from which have 
sprung all the beautiful and splendid forms which I should in vain at- 
tempt to describe, that the Mocking Bird should have fixed its abode, 
there only that its wondrous song should be heard. 

But where is that favoured land ? — It is in that great continent to 
whose distant shores Europe has sent forth her adventurous sons, to 
wrest for themselves a habitation from the wild inhabitants of the forest, 
and to convert the neglected soil into fields of exuberant fertility. It is, 
reader, in Louisiana that these bounties of nature are in the greatest per- 
fection. It is there that you should listen to the love-song of the Mock- 
ing Bird, as I at this moment do. See how he flies round his mate, with 
motions as light as those of the butterfly ! His tail is widely expanded, 
he mounts in the air to a small distance, describes a circle, and, again 
alighting, approaches his beloved one, his eyes gleaming with delight, 
for she has already promised to be his and his only. His beautiful wings 
are gently raised, he bows to his love, and again bouncing upwards, opens 
his bill, and pours forth his melody, full of exultation at the conquest 
which he has made. 


They are not the soft sounds of the flute or of tlie hautboy that I 
hear, but the sweeter notes of Nature's own music. The mellowness of 
the song, the varied modulations and gradations, the extent of its com- 
pass, the great brilliancy of execution, are unrivalled. There is proba- 
bly no bird in the world that possesses all the musical quahfications of 
this king of song, who has derived all from Nature's self. Yes, reader, 

No sooner has he again alighted, and the conjugal contract has been 
sealed, than, as if his breast was about to be rent with delight, he again 
pours forth his notes with more softness and richness than before. He 
now soars higher, glancing around \dth a vigilant eye, to assure himself 
that none has witnessed his bliss. When these love-scenes, visible only 
to the ardent lover of nature, are over, he dances through the air, full of 
animation and delight, and, as if to convince his lovely mate that to en- 
rich her hopes he has much more love in store, he that moment begins 
anew, and imitates all the notes which nature has imparted to the other 
songsters of the grove. 

For a while, each long day and pleasant night are thus spent ; but 
at a peculiar note of the female he ceases his song, and attends to her 
wishes. A nest is to be prepared, and the choice of a place in which to 
lay it is to become a matter of mutual consideration. The Orange, the 
Fig, the Pear-tree of the gardens are inspected ; the thick briar patches 
are also visited. They appear all so well suited for the purpose in view, 
and so well does the bird know that man is not his most dangerous 
enemy, that instead of retiring from him, they at length fix their abode 
in his vicinity, perhaps in the nearest tree to his window. Dried twigs, 
leaves, grasses, cotton, flax, and other substances, are picked up, carried 
to a forked branch, and there arranged. The female has laid an egg, 
and the male redoubles his caresses. Five eggs are deposited in due 
time, when the male having little more to do than to sing his mate to re- 
pose, attunes his pipe anew. Every now and then he spies an insect on 
the ground, the taste of which he is sure will please his beloved one. He 
drops upon it, takes it in his bill, beats it against the earth, and flies 
to the nest to feed and receive the warm thanks of his devoted female. 

When a fortnight has elapsed, the young brood demand all their 
care and attention. No cat, no vile snake, no dreaded hawk, is likely to 
visit their habitation. Indeed the inmates of the next house have by this 
time become quite attached to the lovely pair of Mocking Birds, and 


take pleasure in contributing to their safety. The dew-berries from the 
fiekls, and many kinds of fruit from the gardens, mixed with insects, sup- 
ply the young as well as the parents with food. The brood is soon seen 
emero-ing from the nest, and in another fortnight, being now able to fly 
with vigour, and to provide for themselves, they leave the parent birds, 
as many other species do. 

The above account does not contain all that I wish you to know of 
the habits of this remarkable songster ; so, I shall shift the scene to the 
woods and wilds, where we shall exaixiine it more particularly. 

The Mocking Bird remains in Louisiana the whole year. I have ob- 
served with astonishment, that towards the end of October, when those 
which had gone to the Eastern States, some as far as Boston, have re- 
turned, they are instantly known by the " southrons," who attack them 
on all occasions. I have ascertained this by observing the greater shy- 
ness exhibited by the strangers for weeks after their arrival. This shy- 
ness, however, is shortly over, as well as the animosity displayed by the 
resident birds, and during the winter there exists a great appearance of 
sociality among the united tribes. 

In the beginning of April, sometimes a fortnight earlier, the Mock- 
ing Birds pair, and construct their nests. In some instances they are so 
careless as to place the nest between the rails of a fence directly by the 
road. I have frequently found it in such places, or in the fields, as well 
as in briars, but always so easily discoverable that any person desirous of 
procuring one, might do so in a very short time. It is coarsely con- 
structed on the outside, being there composed of dried sticks of briars, 
withered leaves of trees, and grasses, mixed with wool. Internally it is 
finished with fibrous roots disposed in a circular form, but carelessly ar- 
ranged. The female lays from four to six eggs the first time, four or 
five the next, and when there is a third brood, which is sometimes the 
case, seldom more than three, of which I have rarely found more than 
two hatched. The eggs are of a short oval form, light green, blotched 
and spotted with umber. The young of the last brood not being able to 
support themselves until late in the season, when many of the berries and 
insects have become scarce, are stunted in growth ; — a cii-cumstance which 
has induced some persons to imagine the existence in the United States of 
two species of Mocking Bird, a larger and a smaller. This, however, in 
as far as my observation goes, is not correct. The first brood is fre- 
quently brought to the bird-market in New Orleans as early as the middle 


of April. A little farther up the country, they are out by the fifteenth of 
May. The second brood is hatched in July, and the third in the latter 
part of September. 

The nearer you approach to the sea-shores, the more plentiful do you 
find these birds. They are naturally fond of loose sands, and of districts 
scantily furnished with small trees, or patches of briars, and low bushes. 

During incubation, the female pays such precise attention to the posi- 
tion in which she leaves her eggs, when she goes to a short distance for 
exercise and refreshment, to pick up gravel, or roll herself in the dust, 
that, on her return, should she find that any of them has been displaced, 
or touched by the hand of man, she utters a low mournful note, at the 
sound of which the male immediately joins her, and they are both seen to 
condole together. Some people imagine that, on such occasions, the 
female abandons the nest ; but this idea is incorrect. On the contrary, 
she redovibles her assiduity and care, and scarcely leaves the nest for a 
moment ; nor is it vintil she has been repeatedly forced from the dear 
spot, and has been much alarmed by frequent intrusions, that she finally 
and reluctantly leaves it. Nay, if the eggs are on the eve of being hatch- 
ed, she will almost suffer a person to lay hold of her. 

Different species of snakes ascend to their nests, and generally suck 
the eggs or swallow the young ; but on all such occasions, not only the 
pair to which the nest belongs, but many other Mocking Birds from the 
vicinity, fly to the spot, attack the reptiles, and, in some cases, are so for- 
tunate as either to force them to retreat, or deprive them of life. Cats 
that have abandoned the houses to prowl about the fields, in a half wild 
state, are also dangerous enemies, as they frequently approach the nest 
unnoticed, and at a pounce secure the mother, or at least destroy the eggs 
or young, and overturn the nest. Children seldom destroy the nests of 
these birds, and the planters generally protect them. So much does this 
feeling prevail throughout Louisiana, that they will not willingly permit 
a Mocking Bird to be shot at any time. 

In winter, nearly all the Mocking Birds approach the farm-houses 
and plantations, living about the gardens or outhouses. They are then 
frequently seen on the roofs, and perched on the chimney-tops ; yet they 
always appear full of animation. Whilst searching for food on the 
ground, their motions are light and elegant, and they frequently open 
their wings as butterflies do when basking in the sun, moving a step or 
two, and again throwing out their wings. When the weather is mild, 


the old males are heard singing with as much spirit as during the spring 
or summer, while the younger birds are busily engaged in practising, 
preparatory to the love season. They seldom resort to the interior of 
the forest either during the day or by night, but usually roost among 
the foliage of evergreens, in the immediate vicinity of houses in Louisi- 
ana, although in the Eastern States they prefer low fir trees. 

The flight of the Mocking Bird is performed by short jerks of the 
body and wings, at every one of which a strong twitching motion of the 
tail is perceived. This motion is still more apparent while the bird is 
walking, when it opens its tail like a fan and instantly closes it again. 
The common cry or call of this bird is a very mournful note, resembling 
that uttered on similar occasions by its first cousin the Turdus rirfus, or, 
as it is commonly called, the " French Mocking Bhxl.'" When travel- 
ling, this flight is only a little prolonged, as the bird goes from tree to 
tree, or at most across a field, scarcely, if ever, rising higher than the top 
of the forest. During this migration, it generally resorts to the highest 
parts of the woods near water-courses, utters its usual mournful note, and 
roosts in these places. It travels mostly by day. 

Few hawks attack the Mocking Birds, as on their approach, however 
sudden it may be, they are always ready not only to defend themselves 
vigorously and with undaunted courage, but to meet the aggressor half 
way, and force him to abandon his intention. The only hawk that occa- 
sionally surprises it is the Falco Stanleii, which flies low with great 
swiftness, and carries the bird off without any apparent stoppage. 
Should it happen that the ruffian misses his prey, the Mocking Bird in 
turn becomes the assailant, and pursues the Hawk with great courage, 
calling in the mean time all the birds of its species to its assistance ; and 
although it cannot overtake the marauder, the alarm created by their 
cries, which are propagated in succession among all the birds in the vici- 
nity, like the watchwords of sentinels on duty, prevents him from suc- 
ceeding in his attempts. 

The musical powers of this bird have often been taken notice of by 
European naturaUsts, and persons who find pleasure in listening to the 
song of different birds whilst in confinement or at large. Some of these 
persons have described the notes of the Nightingale as occasionally fully 
equal to those of our bird. I have frequently heard both species in con- 
finement, and in the wild state, and without prejudice, have no hesitation 
in pronouncing the notes of the European Philomel equal to those of a 


soiihrette of taste, which, could she study under a Mozart, might per- 
haps in time become very interesting in her way. But to compare her 
essays to the finished talent of the IMocking Bird, is, in my opinion, quite 

The Mocking Bird is easily reared by hand from the nest, from 
which it ought to be removed when eight or ten days old. It becomes so 
very familiar and affectionate, that it wiU often follow its owner about the 
house. I have known one raised from the nest kept by a gentleman at 
Natchez, that frequently flew out of the house, poured forth its melodies, 
and returned at sight of its keeper. But notwithstanding all the care 
and management bestowed upon the improvement of the vocal powers of 
this bird in confinement, I never heard one in that state produce any 
thing at all approaching in melody to its own natural song. 

The male bird is easily distinguished in the nest, as soon as the brood 
is a little fledged, it being larger than the female, and shewing more pure 
white. It does not shrink so deep in the nest as the female does, at the 
sight of the hand which is about to lift it. Good singing birds of this 
species often bring a high price. They dre long-lived, and very agree- 
able companions. Their imitative powers are amazing, and they mimic 
with ease all their brethren of the forests or of the waters, as well as 
many qvxadrupeds. I have heard it asserted that they possess the power 
of imitating the human voice, but have never met Avith an instance of the 
display of this alleged faculty. 

TuRDUS P0LYG1.0TTUS, Limi. Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. 293. — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 339 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 74. 
Mimic Thrush, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 40. 
Mocking Bird, Turdus polvglottus, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 14. 

PI. X. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate XXI. Fig. 1, 1. 

Bill of moderate length, rather weak, compressed, straightish ; up- 
per mandible slightly arched in its dorsal outline, little declinate at the 
tip ; lower mandible nearly straight, acute. Nostrils basal, oblong, half- 
closed by a membrane. Head of ordinary size. Neck and body rather 
slender. Feet longish, rather strong ; tarsus compressed, acute behind, 
covered anteriorly with a few long scutella ; toes scutellate above, the 



middle one hardly shorter than the tarsus ; inner toe free ; hind toe 
rather robust ; claws compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of moderate length, rounded ; 
third and fourth primaries longest, first short. Tail long, much round- 
ed, of twelve nearly straight, rather narrow, rounded feathers. 

Bill brownish-black. Iris pale yellow. Feet and claws dark brown. 
Upper parts of the head, neck and body dark grey, tinged with brown 
on the forehead and sides of the head. Under parts brownish-white. 
Quills brownish-black ; primaries white in their proximal part, forming a 
large spot of that colour on the wing, concealed on the first three, and 
on the last reaching to near the tip. Large primary coverts white, with a 
line of black at the tip. Secondary coverts and second row tipped with 
white. Outer tail-feather white, excepting a light streak of dusky near 
the tip ; the next two also white, but with a longitudinal streak of black 
on the outer web, larger and broader on the third. The rest brownish- 
black tinged with grey, and, excepting the middle ones, tipped with white. 

Length 9^ inches, extent of wings 13^ ; bill along the ridge -J^, 
along the gap 1 ; tarsus I^, middle toe ]. 

Adult Female. Plate XXI. Fig. 2, 2. 

The female differs very little from the male. The plumage is slightly 
duller, with more brown, the lateral tail-feathers have more black, and 
the white parts are less pure. The dimensions are nearly the same. 

The Florida Jessamine. 

Gelseminum vitidum, Mich. Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 120. Pursh. Flor. Amer. 
vol. i. p. 184. — Pentandhia Digynia, Linn. Apocine^, Juss. 

A climbing shrub, with smooth lanceolate Reaves, axillary clusters of 
yellow flowers, which are funnel-shaped, with the hmb spreading and 
nearly equal, the calyx five-toothed, the capsule two-celled and two- 
valved. It grows along the sea^coast, especially near rivers, from Vir- 
ginia to Florida, flowering through the summer. The flowers are 
fragrant. It is also named Carolina Jessamine and Yellow Jessami7ie. 

( 115 ) 



PLATE XXII. Male and Female. 

The Purple Martin makes its appearance in the City of New Orleans 
from the 1st to the 9th of February, occasionally a few days earlier than 
the first of these dates, and is then to be seen gambolling through the air, 
over the city and the river, feeding on many sorts of insects, which are 
there found in abundance at that period. , 

It frequently rears three broods whilst with us.' I have had several / 
opportunities, at the period of their arrival, of seeing prodigious flocks ( 
moving over that city or its vicinity, at a considerable height, each bird 
performing circular sweeps as it proceeded, for the purpose of procuring 
food. These flocks were loose, and moved either eastward, or towards 
the north-west, at a rate not exceeding four miles in the hour, as I walked 
under one of them with ease for upwards of two miles, at that rate, on 
the 4th of February 1821, on the bank of the river below the city, con- \ 
stantly looking up at the birds, to the great astonishment of many pas- 
sengers, who were bent on far different pursuits. <"My Fahrenheit's ther- 
mometer stood at 68°, the weather being calm and drizzly. This flock ' 
extended about a mile and a half in length, by a quarter of a mile in 
breadth. On the 9th of the same month, not far above the Battle-ground, 
I enjoyed another sight of the same kind, although I did not think the 
flock so numerous. 

At the Falls of the Ohio, I have seen Martins as early as the 1 5th of 
March, arriving in small detached parties of only five or six individuals, 
when the thermometer was as low as 28°, the next day at 45°, and again, 
in the same week, so low as to cause the death of all the Martins, or to 
render them so incapable of flying as to sufl^er children to catch them. 
By the 25th of the same month, they are generally plentiful about that 

At St Genevieve, in the State of Missouri, they seldom arrive before 
the 10th or 15th of April, and sometimes suffer from unexpected returns 
of frost. At Philadelphia, they are first seen about the 10th of April. 

H 2 


They reach Boston about the 25th, and continue their migration much 
farther north, as the spring continues to open. 

On their return to the Southern States, they do not require to wait 
for warmer days, as in spring, to enable them to proceed, and they all 
leave the above-mentioned districts and places about the 20th of August. 
They assemble in parties of from fifty to a hundred and fifty, about the 
spires of churches in the cities, or on the branches of some large dead tree 
about the farms, for several days before their final departure. From 
these places they are seen making occasional sorties, uttering a general 
cry, and inclining their course towards the west, flying swiftly for several 
hundred yards, when suddenly checking themselves in their career, they 
return in easy sailings to the same tree or steeple. They seem to act thus 
for the purpose of exercising themselves, as well as to ascertain the course 
they are to take, and to form the necessary arrangements for enabling the 
party to encounter the fatigvies of their long journey. Whilst alighted, 
during these days of preparation, they spend the greater part of the time 
jn dressing and oiling their feathers, cleaning their skins, and clearing, as 
it were, every part of their dress and body from the numerous insects 
which infest them. They remain on their roosts exposed to the night air, 
a few only resorting to the boxes where they have been reared, and do not 
leave them until the sun has travelled an hour or two from the horizon, 
but continue, during the fore part of the morning, to plume themselves 
with great assiduity. At length, on the dawn of a calm morning, they 
start with one accord, and are seen moving due west or south-west, join- 
ing other parties as they proceed, until there is formed a flock similar to 
that which I have described above. Their progress is now much more 
rapid than in spring, and they keep closer together. 

It is during these migrations, reader, that the power of flight possess- 
ed by these birds can be best ascertained, and more especially when they 
encounter a violent storm of wind. They meet the gust, and appear to 
slide along the edges of it, as if determined not to lose one inch of what 
they have gained. The foremost front the storm with pertinacity, as- 
cending or plunging along the skirts of the opposing currents, and enter- 
ing their imdulating recesses, as if determined to force their way through, 
while the rest follow close behind, all huddled together into such compact 
masses as to appear like a black spot. Not a twitter is then to be heard 
from them by the spectator below ; but the instant the farther edge of 
the current is doubled, they relax their efforts, to refresh themselves, and 


twitter in united accord, as if congratulating each other on the successful 
issue of the contest. 

The usual flight of this bird more resembles that of the Hirundo ur- 
bica of LiNN-Eus, or that of the Hirundofulva of Vieillot, than theflight 
of any other species of Swallow ; and, although graceful and easy, cannot 
be compared in swiftness with that of the Barn Swallow. Yet the Martin 
is fully able to distance any bird not of its own genus. They are very 
expert at bathing and drinking while on the wing, when over a large lake 
or river, giving a sudden motion to the hind part of the body, as it comes 
into contact with the water, thus dipping themselves in it, and then rising 
and shaking their body, like a water spaniel, to throw off" the water. When 
intending to drink, they sail close over the water, with both wings greatly 
raised, and forming a very acute angle with each other. In this position, 
they lower the head, dipping their bill several times in quick succession, 
and swallowing at each time a little water. 

They alight with comparative ease on different trees, particularly wil- 
lows, making frequent movements of the -wings and tail as they shift their 
place, in looking for leaves to convey to their nests. They also frequent- 
ly alight on the ground, where, notwithstanding the shortness of their 
legs, they move with some ease, pick up a goldsmith or other insect, and 
walk to the edges of puddles to drink, opening their wings, which they 
also do when on trees, feeKng as if not perfectly comfortable. 

These birds are extremely courageous, persevering, and tenacious of 
what they consider their right. They exhibit strong antipathies against 
cats, dogs, and such other quadrupeds as are hkely to prove dangerous to 
them. They attack and chase indiscriminately every species of Hawk, 
Crow, or Vulture, and on this account are much patronized by the hus- 
bandman. They frequently follow and tease an Eagle, until he is out of 
sight of the Martin's box ; and to give you an idea of their tenacity, 
when they have made choice of a place in which to rear their young, I 
shall relate to you the following occurrences. 

I had a large and commodious house built and fixed on a pole, for the 
reception of Martins, in an enclosure near my house, where for some years 
several pairs had reared their young. One winter I also put up several 
small boxes, with a view to invite Blue-birds to build nests in them. The 
Martins arrived in the spring, and imagining these smaller apartments 
more agreeable than their own mansion, took possession of them, after 
forcing the lovely Blue-birds from their abode. I witnessed the different 


conflicts, and observed that one of the Blue-birds was possessed of as much 
courage as his antagonist, for it was only in consequence of the more 
powerful blows of the Martin, that he gave up his house, in which a nest 
was nearly finished, and he continued on all occasions to annoy the usurp- 
er as much as lay in his power. The Martin shewed his head at the en- 
trance, and merely retorted with accents of exultation and insult. I 
thought fit to interfere, mounted the tree on the trunk of which the Blue- 
bird's box was fastened, caught the Martin, and clipped his tail with scis- 
sars, in the hope that such mortifying punishment might prove effectual 
in inducing him to remove to his own tenement. No such thing ; for no 
sooner had I launched him into the air, than he at once rushed back to 
the box. I again caught him, and chpped the tip of each wing in such a 
manner that he still could fly sufficiently well to procure food, and once 
more set him at Uberty. The desired effect, however, was not produced, 
and as I saw the pertinacious Martin keep the box in spite of all my 
wishes that he should give it up, I seized him in anger, and disposed of 
him in such a way that he never returned to the neighbourhood. 

At the house of a friend of mine in Louisiana, some Martins took pos- 
• session of sundry holes in the cornices, and there reared their young for 
several years, until the insects which they introduced to the house in- 
duced the owner to tliink of a reform. Carpenters were employed to clean 
the place, and close up the apertures by which the birds entered the cor- 
nice. This was soon done. The Martins seemed in despair ; they brought 
tAvigs and other materials, and began to form nests wherever a hole 
could be found in any part of the building ; but were so chased off that 
after repeated attempts, the season being in the mean time advanced, they 
were forced away, and betook themselves to some Woodpeckers' holes on 
the dead trees about the plantation. The next spring, a house was buUt 
for them. The erection of such houses is a general practice, the Purple 
Martin being considered as a privileged pilgrim, and the harbinger of 

The note of the Martin is not melodious, but is nevertheless very 
pleasing. The twitterings of the male while courting the female are more 
interesting. Its notes are among the first that are heard in the morning, 
and are welcome to the sense of every body. The industrious farmer 
rises from his bed as he hears them. They are soon after mingled wth 
those of many other birds, and the husbandman, certain of a fine day, 
renews his peaceful labours mth an elated heart. The still more inde- 


pendent Indian is also fond of the Martin's company. He frequently 
hangs up a calabash on some twig near his camp, and in this cradle the 
bird keeps watch, and sallies forth to drive off the vulture that might 
otherwise commit depredations on the deer-skins or pieces of venison ex- 
posed to the air to be dried. The humbled slave of the Southern States 
takes more pains to accommodate this favourite bird. The calabash is 
neatly scooped out, and attached to the flexible top of a cane, brought 
from the swamp, where that plant usually grows, and placed close to his 
hut. It is, alas ! to him a mere memento of the freedom which he once 
enjoyed ; and, at the sound of the horn which calls him to his labour, as 
he bids farewell to the Martin, he cannot help thinking how happy he 
should be, were he permitted to gambol and enjoy himself day after day, 
with as much liberty as that bird. Almost every country tavern has a 
Martin box on the upper part of its sign-board ; and I have observed that 
the handsomer the box, the better does the inn generally prove to be. 

All our cities are furnished with houses for the reception of these 
birds ; and it is seldom that even lads bent upon mischief disturb the fa- 
voured Martin. He sweeps along the streets, here and there seizing a 
fly, hangs to the eaves of the houses, or peeps into them, as he poises him- 
self in the air in front of the windows, or mounts high above the city, 
soaring into the clear sky, plays with the string of the child's kite, snap- 
ping at it, as he swiftly passes, with unerring precision, or suddenly 
sweeps along the^roofs, i^haoiog off g-riniallrir., .. holh p'^'Ks>My prowling 
in quest of his young. 

In the Middle States, the nest of the Martin is built, or that of the 
preceding year repaired and augmented, eight or ten dayo afu-r its arri- 
val, or about the J20th of April. It is composed of dry sticks, willow- 
twigs, grasses, leaves, green and dry, feathers, and whatever rags he meets 
with. The eggs, which are pure white, are from four to six. Many 
pairs resort to the same box to breed, and the httle fraternity appear to 
live in perfect harmony. They rear two broods in a season. The first 
comes forth in the end of May, the second about the middle of July. In 
Louisiana, they sometimes have three broods. The male takes part of 
the labour of incubation, and is extremely attentive to his mate. He is 
seen twittering on the box, and frequently flying past the hole. His notes 
are at this time emphatical and prolonged, low and less musical than even 
his common pews. Their food consists entirely of insects, among which 
are large beetles. They seldom seize the honey-bee. 


The circumstance of their leaving the United States so early in au- 
tumn, has inclined me to think that they must go farther from them than 
any of om- migratory land birds. This, however, is only conjecture, of 
wliich, kind reader, you may better judge when you have read my account 
of the Cliff Swallow. 

HiRUNDO PUKPUREA, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 844. — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. 

p. 578 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United Slates, p. 64. 
Purple Martin, Hirundo purpurea, Wils. Americ. Ornith. p. 58, PL xxxix. 

fig. 1. Male ; fig. 2. Female. 

Adult Male. Plate XXII. Fig 1, 1. 

Bill short, rather robust, much depressed and very broad at the base ; 
compressed towards the tip ; ujiper mandible notched near the tip, which 
is rather obtuse and a little declinate ; lower mandible nearly straight ; 
gap as Avide as the head, and extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils ba^ 
sal, lateral, roundish. Head large. Neck short. Body rather elongated 
and depressed. Feet very short ; tarsus and toes scutellate anteriorly, 
lateral toes nearly equal, the outer united to the second joint ; claws short, 
weak, arched, rather obtuse. 

Plumage silky, shining, and blended. Wings very long and slender, 
sickle-shaped when closed, the first primary longest. Tail of ordinary 
length, shortP'' ^'^^^^ thewmgd, foi-V.oaj-n-Kcu spread even, of twelve straight, 
narro^^istt feathers. 

Bill deep brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet purphsh-black. 
The plumage is generally of a deep blackish-blue, with intense purphsh- 
blue reflections ; the quills and tail-feathers brownish-black. 

Length 7i inches, extent of wings 16 ; bill along the back ^, along 
the gap 1, width of the gap | ; tarsus f, middle toe the same. 

Adult Female. Plate XXII. Fig. 2, %. 

Fore and upper part of the head brownish-grey, mottled with black ; 
upper parts generally of the same tints as the male, with more grey. 
Throat, fore neck, and upper breast, dark grey, transversely lined with 
black. The rest of the under parts hghtish grey, longitudinally streaked 
with blackish, darker and transversely streaked on the sides, and under 
the tail nearly white, with slight lines. 


( 121 ) 



Sylvia Trichjs, Lath. 

PLATE XXIII. Male and Female. 

The notes of this little bird render it more conspicuous than most of 
its genus, for although they cannot be called very musical, they are far 
from being vmpleasant, and are uttered so frequently during the day, that 
one, in walking along the briary ranges of the fences, is almost necessarily 
brought to listen to its wMtititee, repeated three or four times every five 
or six minutes, the bird seldom stopping expressly to perform its music, 
but merely uttering the notes after it has picked an insect from amongst 
the leaves of the low bushes which it usually inhabits. It then hops a 
step or two up or down, and begins again. 

Although timid, it seldom flies far off at the approach of man, but in- 
stantly dives into the thickest parts of its favourite bushes and high grass, 
where it continues searching for food either along the twigs, or among 
the dried leaves on the ground, and renews its little song when only a 
few feet distant. 

Its nest is one of those which the Cow Bunting (Icterus pecoris) 
selects, in which to deposit one of its eggs, to be hatched by the owners, 
that bird being similar in this respect to the European Cuckoo. The 
nest, which is placed on the grnnnri, m^^a j=— *ij k,v...k m ii, is now and 
then covered over in the form of an oven, from which circumstance 
children name this warbler the Oven-bird. It is composed externally of 
withered leaves and grass, and is lined with hair. The eggs are from 
four to six, of a white colour, speckled with Ught brown, and are de- 
posited about the middle of May. Sometimes two broods are reared in 
a season. I have never observed the egg of the Cow Bunting in the 
nests of the second brood. It is less active in its motions than most of 
the Sylviae, but makes up this deficiency by continued application, it 
being, to appearance, busily employed during the whole of the day. It 
does not chase insects by flying after them, but secures them by surprise. 
Caterpillars and spiders form its principal food. 

Although this species is found throughout the Union, the Middle 


States seem to attract and detain more individuals, during the breeding 
season, than any others. Very few breed in Louisiana. In Kentucky, 
however, many breed in the barrens. The neighbourhood of swamps and 
such places is their favourite ground, but every field provided with briar 
patches or tall weeds harbours some of them. It leaves the Central Dis- 
tricts about the middle of September. The male bird does not attain its 
full colouring until the first spring, being for several months of the same 
tints as the female. 

The twig on which the male is seen, is commonly called in Louisiana 
the Wild Olive. The tree is small, brittle and useless. It bears an acid 
fruit, which is sometimes employed as a pickle, and eaten when ripe by 
some people. 

The female is perched on a twig of the Bitter-wood Tree, the wood 
of which is hard, and resembles that of the Crab. This is also a small 
tree, and grows along fences, amongst the briars, where the birds are 
found. Both these trees I have seen in Louisiana only. 

Sylvia Trichas, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. iL p. 519. 
TuHDus Trichas, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 293. 

Sylvia Marilakdica, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 85. 
Yellow-breasted Warbler, Lath. Synops, vol. iv. p. 438. 

Maryland Yellow-throat, Sylvia Marilakdica, Wilson, Americ. Ornith. 
vol. i. p. 88. PI. 6. fig. 1. Male ; and vol. ii. p. 163. PL 18. fig. 4. Female. 

Adult Male. Plate XXIII. Fig. L 

Bill of ordinary lengti., tu.,poring, donrlpr, nparly straight, acute. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, eUiptical, half-closed by a membrane. Head and 
neck of ordinary size, the latter short. Body rather short. Feet longish, 
slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly with a few 
scutella, the uppermost long ; toes scutellate above, the inner free, the 
hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage loose, blended. Wings very short, the first quill longest. 
Tail rounded. 

Bill dark brown. Iris dark hazel. Feet flesh colour. A broad 
band of bl^ck across the forehead, including the eyes, and terminating 
in a pointed form half-way down the neck; behind which is a nar- 
rower band of very pale blue ; a slender white streak under the eye. Fore 
part of the neck bright o.chre-yellow, the rest of the under parts pale 


brownish-yellow, fading into white on the abdomen and under tail-coverts. 
Upper parts dull greyish-olive, on the head tinged with red. Inner webs 
of the quills deep brown. 

Length 5\ inches, extent of wings 6g ; bill along the ridge ^-^ ; along 
the gap § ; tarsus ^k ? 

Adult Female. Plate XXIII. Fig. 2. 

The female has the upper parts lighter, the under parts tinged with 
reddish-brown, and wants the two bands on the head, which is of a pale 
brownish red colour. 

The Snow-deop Tree, Silver-bell Tree, or Wild Olive. 

Halesia tetraptera, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 849. Pursh, Flor. Ainer. vol. ii. 
p. 448. — Monadelphia Decandria, Linn. GuaiacaVjE, Juss. 

Leaves ovate, acuminate, serrate ; flowers with twelve stamina ; the 
fruit rhomboidal. It grows in shady woods, generally near rivers. 

The Bitter- wood Tree. 

Viburnum prunifolium, Wild. Sp. PI. vol, i. p. 1847. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. i. 
p. 201 Pentandria Dycynia, Linn. Caprtfolia, Juss. 

Glabrous ; the branches spreading ; the leaves roundish ; crenato-ser- 
rate ; the petioles smooth ; the cymes sessile ; the fruit round. The 
flowers are white, the berries dark purplish-blue. 

( 124 ) 


The many kind attentions which I have received from the celebrated 
author of the Life of Leo the Tenth, joined to the vahiable advice with 
which I have been favoured by that excellent gentleman, has induced 
me to honour the little bird before you with his name. 

I shot it in a deep swamp not far from the River Mississippi, in the 
State bearing the same name, in September 1821. It was flitting amongst 
the top branches of a high Cypress, when I first observed it, moving side- 
ways, searching for insects, and occasionally following one on the wing. 
It uttered a single ttvit repeated at short intervals. It having unexpect- 
edly flown to a distant tree of the species on a branch of which you now 
see it, I followed it and shot it. It was the only one of the kind I have 
ever seen, although I went to the same swamp for several days in succes- 
sion. It proved a male, and was to all appearance in perfect plumage. 
The gizzard was nearly filled with very minute red insects, found on 
Cypresses and Pines, the wings of different flies, and the heads of red 

In general appearance, this species so much resembles the preceding, 
that had not its habits thff'ered so greatly from those of the Maryland 
Yellow-throat, I might have been induced to consider it as merely an ac- 
cidental variety. On examining it more closely, however, and on com- 
paring it with that bird, I felt, as I now feel, fuUy confident of its being 

The species of Oak, on a twig of which it stands, is commonly caUed 
the Swamp Oak. It grows to a large size, always near the edges of damp 
or watery places. The heiglit is from fifty to sixty feet, its diameter from 
two to three. The branches come off from the trunk at a height of eight 
feet from the ground, nearly at right angles. The twigs have a similar 
disposition. The wood is extremely hard and close in the texture, heavier 
than that of either the Red or the White Oak, and sinks when thrown in- 
to water. The Southern States appear to be those in which it thrives 


Sylvia Roscoe. 

Adult Male. Plate XXIV. 

Bill of ordinary length, tapering, slender, nearly straight, acute. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Head and 
neck of ordinary size, the latter short. Body rather short. Feet of or- 
dinary length, slender ; tarsus scarcely longer than the middle toe, covered 
anteriorly with a few scutella, the uppermost long ; toes scutellate above, 
the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, compressed, 
acute, arched. 

Plumage loose, blended. Wings very short, the first quill longest. 
Tail rounded. 

Bill dark flesh-colour, brown at the tip. Iris light brown. Feet flesh- 
colour. General colour of the upper parts very dark olive, the feathers 
edged with lighter. The inner webs of the quills dark brown. A 
slender white streak over the eye and close to it ; a broad band of black 
from the eye downwards. 

Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 6l ; bill along the ridge -^^, along 
the gap I ; tarsus i. 

The Swamp Oak. 

QuERCus AQiiATiCA, Water Oak, MicA. Arb. Forest. voL ii. p. 90. PL 17 Mo- 


Leaves oblongo-cuneate, tapering at the base, roimded or apiculate, 
sometimes three-lobed. 

; ( 126 ) 


PLATE XXV. Male and Female. 

The Song Sparrow is one of the most abundant of its tribe in Loui- 
siana, during winter. This abundance is easily accounted for by the cir- 
cumstance that it rears three broods in the year : — six, five, and three 
young at each time, making fourteen per annum from a single pair. Sup- 
posing a couple to Hve in health, and enjoy the comforts necessary for the 
bringing up of their yovmg famiUes, for a period of only ten years, which 
is a moderate "^estimate for birds of this class, you will readily conceive 
how a whole flock of Song Sparrows may in a very short time be produced 

by them. 

Amono- the many desiderata connected with the study of nature, there 
is one which, long felt by me, is not less so at the present moment. I 
have never been able to conceive why a bird which produces more than 
one brood in a season, should abandon its first nest to construct a new 
one, as is the case with the present species ; while other birds, such as the 
Ospreys, and various species of Swallows, rear many broods in the first 
nest which they have made, and to which they return, after their long 
annual migrations, to repair it, and render it fit for the habitation of the 
young brood. There is another fact which renders the question still 
more difficult to be solved. I have generally found the nests of this 
Sparrow cleaner and more perfect after the brood raised in them have 
made their departure, than the nests of the other species of birds men- 
tioned above are on such occasions ; a circumstance which would render 
it unnecessary for the Song Sparrow to repair its nest. You are aware 
of the cleanliness of birds with respect to their nests during the whole 
period occupied in rearing their young. You know that the parents re- 
move the excrements to a distance from them, so long as these excre- 
ments are contained in a filmy kind of substance, of which the old bird 
lays hold with its bill for that express purpose, frequently carrying them 
off to a distance of forty or fifty yards, or even more. Well, the Song 
Sparrow is among the cleanest of the clean. I have often watched the 
yoimf birds leaving the nest ; and after their departure, have found it as 


well fitted for the reception of a fresh set of eggs as the new nest which 
the bird constructs. I am unable to understand the reason why a new 
nest is formed. Can you, reader, solve the question ? 

I have at all times been very partial to the Song Sparrow ; for al- 
though its attire is exceedingly plain, it is pleasing to hear it, in the 
Middle States, singing earlier in spring, and later in autumn, than almost 
any other bird. Its song is sweet, of considerable duration, and performed 
at all hours of the day. It nestles sometimes on trees, and sometimes on 
the ground. I have imagined that the old birds, finding by experience 
the insecurity of their ordinary practice of nesthng on the ground, where 
the eggs are often devoured by Crows, betake themselves to the bushes 
to conceal their nests from their enemies. But whatever may be the 
reason, the fact certainly exists, and the nests of the Song Sparrow occur 
in both kinds of situation. The nest for the first brood is prepared, and 
the eggs laid, sometimes as early as the 15th of April. The young are 
out by the first week of May. The third brood is seen by the middle of 
September. The nest, when on the ground, is well sunk in the earth, and 
is placed at the roots of tall grasses. It is made of fine grass, and Hned 
with hair, principally horse- hair. The number of eggs is from five to 
seven, usually from four to six, excepting those for the last brood, which 
I have seldom found to exceed three. They are of a very broad ovate 
form, light greenish-white, speckled with dark umber, the specks larger 
toward the greater end. The male assists in the process of incubation, 
during which one of the birds feeds the other in succession. At this time 
the male is often to be observed singing on the top of a neighbouring 
bush, low tree, or fence-rail. 

The flight of the Song Sparrow is short, and much undulated, when 
the bird is high in the air, but swifter and more level when it is near the 
ground. They migrate by night, singly or in straggling troops. Some 
of them remain the whole winter in the Middle Districts, where they are 
not unfrequently heard to sing, if the weather prove at all pleasant. The 
greater part, however, seek the Southern States, where myriads of Sparrows 
of different kinds are everywhere to be seen in low swampy situations, such 
as they at aU periods prefer. It is a fine plump bird, and becomes very 
flat and juicy. It is picked up in great numbers by the Hen-harriers, 
which visit us for the purpose of feeding on the different kinds of Sparrows 
that resort to these States in winter from the Middle Districts. In Louisi- 
ana, they are frequently seen to ascend to the tops of large trees, and 


there continue for some time singing their agreeable chant, after which 
they dive again into the low bushes, or amongst the rank weeds which 
grow wherever a stream is to be found. They feed on grass seeds, some 
berries and insects, especially grasshoppers, and now and then pursue 
flies on the wing. On the ground their motions are lively. They con- 
tinue running about with great nimbleness and activity, and sometimes 
cross shallow waters leg-deep. To the eastward, they often frequent 
orchards and large gardens, but seldom approach houses. 

I have placed a pair of them on a twig of the Huckleberry Bush in 
blossom. This species sometimes grows to the height of six or seven 
feet, and produces a fine berry in great abundance. Huckleberries of 
every sort are picked by women and children, and sold in the eastern 
markets in great profusion. They are used for tarts, but in my opinion 
are better when eaten fresh. 

Fringilla melodia, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 108. 
Song Sparrow, Fringilla melodia, Wilson, Americ. Oriiith. vol. ii. p. 125. 
PI. xvi. fig. 4. 

Adult Male. Plate XXV. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, robust, conical, a little bulging, straight, acute ; upper 
mandible broader, slightly declinate at the tip ; gap line a little declinate 
at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the frontal feathers. 
Feet of moderate length ; tarsus longer than the middle toe ; toes free, 
the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage rather compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings 
short, rounded, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail longish, even, 
the feathers narrow and acute. 

Bill deep brown above, bluish beneath. Iris hazel. Feet and claws 
pale brown. Upper part of the head reddish-brown, mottled with dark 
brown, with a broad line of bluish-grey down the middle. Back grey, 
streaked with reddish-brown and dusky. Lower back bluish-grey ; tail- 
coverts tinged with light brown. Sides of the head bluish-grey ; a broad 
line of brown from the eye backwards, and another from the commis- 
sure of the mouth. Under parts white, tinged on the sides with grey, 
and posteriorly with reddish-brown, the neck and breast spotted with 
dark brown, and the lateral under tail-coverts streaked with the same. 
VVino-s dark brown, the quills margined externally with reddish-brown. 


the coverts mai-gined and tipped with whitish. Tail-feathers uniformly 
dull brown. 

Length 6 inches, extent of wings 81 ; bill along the ridge ^, along 
the gap 1^ ; tarsus 1, middle toe |, hind toe |. 

Adult Female. Plate XXV. Fig. 2. 

The female hardly differs in colour from the male. 

The Huckle-berry or Blue-tangles. 

Vacciniusi frondosum, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 352. Pursh, Flor. Amer. ^vol. i. 
p. 285.— Decandria Monogynia, Linn. EmcM.,Juss. 

Leaves deciduous, ovato-oblong or lanceolate, entire, smooth, glaucous 
beneath, resinous ; racemes lax, bracteate ; pedicels long, filiform, brac- 
teolate ; corollas ovato-companulate, with acute laciniae and included 
anthers. The flower is white, the calyx green, the berry globular and of 
a bluish-black colour. It varies greatly in the form of the leaves, as well 
as in stature, sometimes attaining a height of six or seven feet, 

Huckle-berries form a portion of the food of many birds, as well as of 
various quadrupeds. Of the former, I may mention in particular the 
Wild Turkey, several species of Grouse, the Wild Pigeon, the Turtle 
Dove, some Loxias, and several Thrushes. Among the latter, the Black 
Bear stands pre-eminent, although Raccoons, Foxes, Oppossums, and 
others destroy great quantities. When the season is favourable, these 
berries are so thickly strewn on the twigs, that they may be gathered in 
large quantities, and as they become ripe, numerous parties resort to the 
grounds in which they are found, by way of frolicking, and spend the 
time in a very agreeable manner, 

( 130 ) 



I HAVE SO frequently spoken of the Mississippi, that an account of the 
progress of navigation on that extraordinary stream may be interesting 
even to the student of nature. I shall commence with the year 1808, at 
which time a great portion of the western country, and the banks of the 
Mississippi River, from above the City of Natchez particularly, were lit- 
tle more than a waste, or, to use words better suited to my feelings, re- 
mained in their natural state. To ascend the great stream against a 
powerful current, rendered still stronger wherever islands occurred, toge- 
gether with the thousands of sand-banks, as liable to changes and shift- 
ings as the alluvial shores themselves, which at every deep curve or bend 
were seen giving way, as if crushed down by the weight of the great 
forests that everywhere reached to the very edge of the water, and faUing 
and sinking in the muddy stream, by acres at a time, was an adventure 
of no small difficulty and risk, and which was rendered more so by the 
innumerable logs, called sazoyers and planters, that everywhere raised 
their heads above the water, as if bidding defiance to all intruders. Few 
white inhabitants had yet marched towards its shores, and these few were 
of a class little able to assist the navigator. Here and there a solitary 
encampment of native Indians might be seen, but its inmates were as 
likely to prove foes as friends, having from their birth been made keenly 
sensible of the encroachments of the white men upon their lands. 

Such was then the nature of the Mississippi' and its shores. That 
river was navigated principally in the direction of the current, in small 
canoes, pirogues, keel-boats, some flat-boats, and a few barges. The canoes 
and pirogues being generally laden with furs from the different heads of 
streams that feed the great river, were of little worth after reaching the mar- 
ket of New Orleans, and seldom reascended, the owners making their way 
home through the woods, amidst innumerable difficulties. The flat-boats 
were demolished and used as fire- wood. The keel-boats and barges were em- 
ployed in conveying produce of different kinds besides furs, such as lead, 
flour, pork, and other articles. These returned laden with sugar, coffee, 
and dry goods suited for the markets of St Genevieve and St Louis on 
the Upper Mississippi, or branched off and ascended the Ohio to the 


foot of the Falls near Louisville in Kentucky. But, reader, follow their 
movements, and judge for yourself of the fatigues, troubles and risks of 
the men employed in that navigation. A keel-boat was generally manned 
by ten hands, principally Canadian French, and a patroon or master. 
These boats seldom carried more than from twenty to thirty tons. The 
barges frequently had forty or fifty men, with a patroon, and carried fifty 
or sixty tons. Both these kinds of vessels were provided with a mast, a 
square-sail, and coils of cordage, known by the name of cordelles. Each 
boat or barge carried its own provisions. We shall suppose one of these 
boats under way, and, having passed Natchez, entering upon what were 
called the difficulties of their ascent. Wherever a point projected, so as to 
render the course or bend below it of some magnitude, there was an eddy, 
the returning current of which was sometimes as strong as that of the 
middle of the great stream. The bai-gemen therefore rowed up pretty 
close under the bank, and had merely to keep watch in the bow, lest the 
boat should run against a planter or sawyer. But the boat has reached 
the point, and there the current is to all appearance of double strength, 
and right against it. The men, who have all rested a few minutes, are 
ordered to take their stations, and lay hold of their oars, for the river 
must be crossed, it being seldom possible to double such a point and pro- 
ceed along the same shore. The boat is crossing, its head slanting to 
the current, which is however too strong for the rowers, and when the 
other side of the river has been reached, it has drifted perhaps a quarter 
of a mile. The men are by this time exhausted, and, as we shall suppose 
it to be twelve o'clock, fasten the boat to the shore or to a tree. A 
small glass of whisky is given to each, when they cook and eat their 
dinner, and after repairing their fatigue by an hour's repose, recom- 
mence their labours. The boat is again seen slowly advancing against 
the stream. It has reached the lower end of a large sand-bar, along the 
edge of which it is propelled by means of long poles, if the bottom be 
hard. Two men called bowsmen remain at the prow, to assist, in concert 
with the steers-man, in managing the boat, and keeping its head right 
against the current. The rest ^place themselves on the land side of the 
footway of the vessel, put one end of their poles on the ground, the other 
against their shoulders, and push with all their might. As each of the 
men reaches the stern, he crosses to the other side, runs along it, and 
comes again to the landward side of the bow, when he recommences ope- 


rations. The barge in the mean time is ascending at a rate not exceed- 
ing one mile in the hour. 

The bar is at length passed, and as the shore in sight is straight on 
both sides of the river, and the current uniformly strong, the poles are 
laid aside, and the men being equally divided, those on the river side 
take to their oars, whilst those on the land side lay hold of the branches 
of wUows, or other trees, and thus slowly propel the boat. Here and 
there, however, the trunk of a fallen tree, partly lying on the bank, and 
partly projecting beyond it, impedes their progress, and requires to be 
doubled. This is performed by striking it with the iron points of the 
poles and gaff-hooks. The sun is now quite low, and the barge is again 
secured in the best harbour within reach. The navigators cook their 
supper, and betake themselves to their blankets or bear-skins to rest, or 
perhaps light a large fire on the shore, under the smoke of which they 
repose, in order to avoid the persecutions of the myriads of moschettoes 
which occur during the whole summer along the river. Perhaps, from 
dawn to svmset, the boat may have advanced fifteen miles. If so, it has 
done well. 'J'he next day, the wind proves favourable, the sail is set, 
the boat takes all advantages, and meeting with no accident, has ascended 
thirty miles, perhaps double that distance. The next day comes with a 
very different aspect. The wind is right ar-head, the shores are without 
trees of any kind, and the canes on the banks are so thick and stout, 
that not even the cordelles can be used. This occasions a halt. The 
time is not altogether lost, as most of the men, being provided with rifles, 
betake themselves to the woods, and search for the deer, the bears, or the 
turkeys, that are generally abundant there. Three days may pass before 
the wind changes, and the advantages gained on the previous fine day 
are forgotten. Again the boat proceeds, but in passing over a shallow 
place runs on a log, swings with the current, but hangs fast, with her lea- 
side almost under water. Now for the poles ! All hands are on deck, 
bustling and pushing. At length towards sunset, the boat is once more 
afloat, and is again taken to the shore, where the wearied crew pass ano- 
ther night. 

I shall not continue this account of difficulties, it having already be- 
come painful in the extreme. I could tell you of the crew abandoning 
the boat and cargo, and of numberless accidents and perils ; but be 
it enough to say, that, advancing in this tardy manner, the boat that left 
New Orleans on the first of March, often did not reach the Falls of the 


Ohio until the month of July, — nay, sometimes not until October ; and 
after all this immense trouble, it brought only a few bags of coffee, and 
at most 100 hogsheads of sugar. Such was the state of things in 1808. 
The number of barges at that period did not amount to more than 25 or 30, 
and the largest probably did not exceed 1 00 tons burden. To make the best 
of this fatiguing navigation, I may conclude by saying, that a barge which 
came up in three months had done wonders, for I believe, few voyages 
were performed in that time. 

If I am not mistaken, the first steam-boat that went down out of the 
Ohio to New Orleans was named the " Orleans," and if I remember right, 
was commanded by Captain Ogden. This voyage, I believe was per- 
formed in the spring of 1810. It was, as you may suppose, looked upon 
as the ne plus ultra of enterprise. Soon after, another vessel came from 
Pittsburg, and before many years elapsed, to see a vessel so propelled 
became a common occurrence. In 1826, after a lapse of time that pro- 
ved sufficient to double the population of the United States of America, 
the navigation of the Mississippi had so improved both in respect to fa- 
cility and quickness, that I know no better way of giving you an idea of 
it, than by presenting you with an extract of a letter from my eldest son, 
which was taken from the books of N. Berthoud, Esq. with whom he at 
that time resided. 

" You ask me in your last letter for a list of the arrivals and depart- 
ures here. I give you an abstract from our list of 1 826, shewing the 
number of boats which phed each year, their tonnage, the trips which 
they performed, and the quantity of goods landed here from New Orleans 
and intermediate places. 

" 1823, from Jan. 1. to Dec. 31. 42 boats, measuring 7,860 tons. 98 trips. 19,453 tons. 

1824, do. 1. Nov. 25. 36 do. 6,393 do. 118 do. 20,291 do. 

1825, do. 1. Aug. 15. 42 do. 7,484 do. 140 do. 24,102 do. 

1826, do. 1. Dec. 31, 51 do. 9,388 do. 182 do. 28,914 do. 

" The amount for the present year will be much greater than any of the 
above. The number of flat-boats and keels is beyond calculation. The 
number of steam-boats above the Falls I cannot say much about, except 
that one or two arrive at and leave Louisville every day. Their passage 
from Cincinnati is commonly 14 or 16 hours. The Tecumseh, a boat 
which runs between this place and New Orleans, and which measures 
210 tons, arrived here on the 10th instant, in 9 days 7 hours, from port 


to port ; and the Philadelphia, of 300 tons, made the passage in 9 days 9^ 
hours, the computed distance being 1650 miles. These are the quickest 
trips made. There are now in operation on the waters west of the Al- 
leghany Mountains 140 or 145 boats. We had last spring (1826), a very 
high freshet, which came 4^ feet deep in the counting-room. The rise was 
57 feet 3 inches perpendicular." 

The whole of the steam-boats of which you have an account did not 
perform voyages to New Orleans only, but to all points on the Missis- 
sippi, and other rivers which fall into it. I am certain that since the 
above date the number has increased, but to what extent I cannot at 
present say. 

When steam-boats first pUed between Shippingport and New Orleans, 
the cabin passage was a hundred dollars, and a hundred and fifty dollars 
on the upward voyage. In 1829, I went down to Natchez from Shipping- 
port for twenty-five dollars, and ascended from New Orleans on board 
the Philadelphia, in the beginning of January 1830, for sixty dollars, 
having taken two state-rooms for my wife and myself. On that voyage 
we met with a trifling accident, which protracted it to fourteen days ; 
the computed distance being, as mentioned above, 1650 miles, although 
the real distance is probably less. I do not remember to have spent a 
day without meeting with a steam-boat, and some days we met several. I 
might here be tempted to give you a description of one of these steamers 
of the western waters, but the picture having been often drawn by abler 
hands, I shall desist. 

( 135 ) 


PLATE XXVI. Male, Female and Young. 

Doubtless, kind reader, you will say, while looking at the seven 
figures of Parakeets represented in the plate, that I spared not my la- 
bour. I never do, so anxious am I to promote your pleasure. 

These birds are represented feeding on the plant commonly named 
the Cockle-hiir. Tt is fovmd much too plentifully in every State west of 
the Alleghanies, and in still greater profusion as you advance towards 
the Southern Districts. It grows in every field where the soil is good. 
The low alluvial lands along the Ohio and Mississippi are all supplied 
with it. Its growth is so measured that it ripens after the crops of grain 
are usually secured, and in some rich old fields it grows so exceedingly 
close, that to make one's way through the patches of it, at this late pe- 
riod, is no pleasant task. The burs stick so thickly to the clothes, as to 
prevent a person from walking with any kind of ease. The wool of 
sheep is also much injured by them ; the tails and manes of horses are 
converted into such tangled masses, that the hair has to be cut close off", 
by which the natural beauty of these valuable animals is impaired. To 
this day, no useful property has been discovered in the Cockle-bur, al- 
though in time it may prove as valuable either in medicine or chemistry as 
many other plants that had long been considered of no importance. 

Well, reader, you have before you one of these plants, on the seeds 
of wliich the parrot feeds. It alights upon it, plucks the bur from the 
stem with its bill, takes it from the latter with one foot, in which it turns 
it over until the joint is properly placed to meet the attacks of the bill, 
when it bursts it open, takes out the fruit, and allows the shell to drop. 
In this manner, a flock of these birds, having discovered a field ever so 
well filled with these plants, will eat or pluck off all their seeds, return- 
ing to the place day after day until hardly any are left. The plant 
might thus be extirpated, but it so happens that it is reproduced from 
the ground, being perennial, and our farmers have too much to do in se- 
curing their crops, to attend to the pulling up the cockle-burs by the 
roots, the only effectual way of getting rid of them. 


The Parrot does not satisfy himself with Cockle-burs, but eats or de- 
stroys almost every kind of fruit indiscriminately, and on this account is 
always an unwelcome visitor to the planter, the farmer, or the gardener. 
The stacks of grain put up in the field are resorted to by flocks of iheSe 
birds, which frequently cover them so entirely, that they present to the 
eye the same effect as if a brilliantly coloured carpet had been thrown over 
them. They cling around the whole stack, pull out the straws, and destroy 
twice as much of the grain as would suffice to satisfy their hunger. They 
assail the Pear and Apple-trees, when the fruit is yet very small and far 
from being ripe, and this merely for the siake of the seeds. As on the stalks 
of Corn, they alight on the Apple-trees of our orchards, or the Pear-trees 
in the gardens, in great numbers ; and, as if throvigh mere mischief, pluck 
off the fruits, open them up to the core, and, disappointed at the sight of 
the seeds, which are yet soft and of a milky consistence, drop the apple 
or pear, and pluck another, passing from branch to branch, until the 
trees which were before so promising, are left completely stripped, like 
the ship water-logged and abandoned by its crew, floating on the yet 
agitated waves, after the tempest has ceased. They visit the Mulberries, 
Pecan-nuts, Grapes, and even the seeds of the Dog-wood, before they are 
ripe, and on all commit similar depredations. The Maize alone never 
attracts their notice. 

Do not imagine, reader, that all these outrages are borne without se- 
vere retaUation on the part of the planters. So far from this, tlie Para- 
keets are destroyed in great numbers, for whilst busily engaged in pluck- 
ing off the fruits or tearing the grain from the stacks, the husbandman 
approaches them with perfect ease, and commits great slaughter among 
them. All the survivors rise, shriek, fly round about for a few mi- 
nutes, and again alight on the very place of most imminent danger. 
The gun is kept at work ; eight or ten, or even twenty, are killed at 
every discharge. The Hving birds, as if conscious of the death of their 
companions, sweep over their bodies, screaming as loud as ever, but still 
return to the stack to be shot at, until so few remain alive, that the far- 
mer does not consider it worth liis while to spend more of his ammuni- 
tion. I have seen several hundreds destroyed in this manner in the course 
of a few hours, and have procured a basketful of these birds at a few 
shots, in order to make choice of good specimens for drawing the figures 
by which this species is represented in the plate now under your conside- 


The flight of the Parakeet is rapid, straight, and continued through 
the forests, or over fields and rivers, and is accompanied by inclina- 
tions of the body which enable the observer to see alternately their 
upper and under parts. They deviate from a direct course only when 
impediments occur, such as the trunks of trees or houses, in which 
case they glance aside in a very graceful manner, merely as much as 
may be necessary. A general cry is kept up by the party, and it is 
seldom that one of these birds is on wing for ever so short a space 
without uttering its cry. On reaching a spot which affords a supply 
of food, instead of alighting at once, as many other birds do, the 
Parakeets take a good survey of the neighbourhood, passing over it 
in circles of great extent, first above the trees, and then gradually low- 
ering until they almost touch the ground, when suddenly re-ascending 
they all settle on the tree that bears the fruit of which they are in 
quest, or on one close to the field in which they expect to regale them- 
selves. ' 
They are quite at ease on trees or any kind of plant, moving side- 
wise, climbing or hanging in every imaginable posture, assisting them- 
selves very dexterously in all their motions with their biUs. They usu- 
ally alight extremely close together. I have seen branches of trees as 
completely covered by them as they could possibly be. If approached 
before they begin their plundering, they appear shy and distrustful, and 
often at a single cry from one of them, the whole take wing, and proba- 
bly may not return to the same place that day. Should a person shoot 
at them, as they go, and wound an individual, its cries are sufficient to 
bring back the whole flock, when the sportsman may kill as many as he 
pleases. If the bird falls dead, they make a short round, and then fly 

On the ground these birds walk slowly and awkwardly, as if their 
tail incommoded them. They do not even attempt to run off when ap- 
proached by the sportsman, should he come upon them unawares ; but 
when he is seen at a distance, they lose no time in trying to hide, or in 
scrambling up the trunk of the nearest tree, in doing which they are 
greatly aided by their biU. 

Their roosting-place is in hollow trees, and the holes excavated 
by the larger species of Woodpeckers, as far as these can be filled by 
them. At dusk, a flock of Parakeets may be seen alighting against the 
trunk of a large Sycamore or any other tree, when a considerable excava- 
tion exists within it. Immediately below the entrance the birds all cling 


to the bark, and crawl into the hole to pass the night. When such a hole 
does not prove sufficient to hold the whole flock, those around the en- 
trance hook themselves on by their claws, and the tip of the upper man- 
dible, and look as if hanging by the bill. I have frequently seen them 
in such positions by means of a glass, and am satisfied that the bill is 
not the only support used in such cases. 

When wounded and laid hold of, the Parakeet opens its bill, turns 
its head to seize and bite, and, if it succeed, is capable of inflicting 
a severe wound. It is easily tamed by being frequently immersed in 
water, and eats as soon as it is placed in confinement. Nature seems to 
have implanted in these birds a propensity to destroy, in consequence of 
which they cut to atoms pieces of wood, books, and, in short, every thing 
that comes in their way. They are incapable of articulating words, how- 
ever much care and attention may be bestowed upon their education ; 
and their screams are so disagreeable as to render them at best very in- 
different companions. The woods are the habitation best fitted for them, 
and there the richness of their plumage, their beautiful mode of flight, 
and even their screams, afford welcome intimation that our darkest forests 
and most sequestered swamps are not destitute of charms. 

They are fond of sand in a surprising degree, and on that account 
are freqviently seen to alight in flocks along the gravelly banks about the 
creeks and rivers, or in the ravines of old fields in the plantations, when 
they scratch with bill and claws, flvitter and roll themselves in the sand, 
and pick up and swallow a certain quantity of it. For the same pur- 
pose, they also enter the holes dug by our Kingsfisher. They are fond 
of saline earth, for which they visit the different Licks interspersed in 
our woods. 

Our Parakeets are very rapidly diminishing in number ; and in some 
districts, where twenty-five years ago they were plentiful, scarcely any 
are now to be seen. At that period, they could be procured as far up 
the tributary waters of the Ohio as the Great Kenhawa, the Scioto, the 
heads of the Miami, the mouth of the Manimee at its junction with Lake 
Erie, on the Illinois River, and sometimes as far north-east as Lake 
Ontario, and along the eastern districts as far as the boundary line be- 
tween Virginia and Maryland. At the present day, very few are to be 
found higher than Cincinnati, nor is it until you reach the mouth of 
the Ohio that Parakeets are met with in considei-able numbers. I should 
think that along the Mississippi there is not now half the number that 
existed fifteen years ago. 


Their flesh is tolerable food, when they are young, on which accoinit 
many of them are shot. The skin of their body is usually much covered 
with the mealy substances detached from the roots of the feathers. The 
head especially is infested by numerous minute insects, all of which shift 
from the skin to the surface of the plumage, immediately after the bird's 
death. Their nest, or the place in which they deposit their eggs, is simply 
the bottom of such ca\'ities in trees as those to which they usually retire 
at night. Many females deposit their eggs together. I am of opinion 
that the number of eggs which each individual lays is two, although I 
have not been able absolutely to assure myself of this. They are nearly 
round, and of a light greenish white. The young are at first covered 
with soft down, such as is seen on young Owls. During the first season, 
the whole plumage is green ; but towards autumn a frontlet of carmine 
appears. Two years, however, are passed before the male or female are 
in full plumage. The only material differences which the sexes present 
externally are, that the male is rather larger, with more brilliant plum- 
age. I have represented a female with two supernumerary feathers in 
the tail. This, however, is merely an accidental variety. 

PsiTTACus CAROLiMEMSis, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 141. — Lath. Ind. Orn. vol. i. 

p. 93 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 41. 

Carolina Parrot, Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 227 — Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 89. 

PL 86. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate XXVI. Fig. 1, 1, 1. 

Bill short, bulging, very strong and hard, deeper than broad, convex 
above and below, with a cere at the base ; upper mandible curved from 
the base, convex on the sides, the margin overlapping, with an angular 
process, the tip trigonal, acute, declinate, much exceeding the under man- 
dible, which is very short, broadly convex on the back, truncate at the 
extremity. Nostrils basal, round, open, placed in the cere. Head very 
large. Neck robust. Body rather elongated. Feet short and robust ; 
tarsus scaly all round ; toes scutellate above, flat beneath, two behind 
and two before, the latter united at the base ; claws curved, acute. 

Plumage compact and imbricated on the back, blended on the head, 
neck, and under parts. Orbital space bare. Wings long, second and 
third quills longest. Tail long, wedge-shaped, of twelve, narrow, taper- 
ing feathers. 


Bill white. Iris hazel. Bare orbital space whitish. Feet pale 
flesh-colour, claws dusky. Fore part of the head and the cheeks bright 
scarlet, that colour extending over and behind the eye, the rest of the 
head and the neck pure bright yellow ; the edge of the wing bright 
yellow, spotted with orange. The general colour of the other parts is 
emerald-green, with light blue reflections, lighter beneath. Primary 
coverts deep bluish-green ; secondary coverts greenish-yellow. Quills 
bluish-green on the outer web, brownish-red on the inner, the primaries 
bright yellow at the base of the outer web. Two middle tail-feathers 
deep green, the rest of the same colour externally, their inner webs 
brownish-red. Tibial feathers yellow, the lowest deep orange. 

Length 14 inches, extent of wings 22 ; bill along the ridge Ij'g, gap, 
measured from the tip of the lower mandible, | ; tarsus f , middle toe 1^^. 

Adult Female. Plate XXVI. Fig. 2, 2, 2. 

The female is similar to the male in colour. The upper figure repre- 
sents a kind of occasional variety, with fourteen tail-feathers. The spe- 
cimen from which the drawing was taken was shot at Bayou Sara, in 

Young Bird. Plate XXVI. Fig. 3. 

The young bird is known by the comparative shortness of the tail, 
and the uniform green colour of the head. 

The Cockle-bur. 

Xakthium Strumauium, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 373. Ptirsh. Flor. Amer. voL ii. 
p. 581. Smith, Engl. Fl. vol. iv. p. 136 — Moncecia Pentakdria, Linn. Co- 
rymbiferjE, Jnss. 

Root fibrous ; stem solitary, erect, branched, from three to six feet 
high, furrowed, downy ; leaves on long petioles, cordate, lobed, serrate, 
scabrous, three-nerved at the base ; clusters axillar, of four or five fertile, 
and one or two barren flowers, which are green ; nuts densely armed, 
and furnished with two beaks. 

( 14-1 ) 


PLATE XXVri. Male, Female, and Young. 

Y ou have now, kind reader, under consideration a family of Wood- 
peckers, the general habits of which are so well known in our United 
States, that, were I assured of your having traversed the woods of Ame- 
rica, I should feel disposed to say little about them. 

The Red-heads (by which name this species is usually designated) may 
be considered as residents of the United States, inasmuch as many of them 
remain in the Southern Districts during the whole winter, and breed there 
in summer. The greater number, however, pass to countries farther south. 
Their migration takes place under night, is commenced in the middle of 
September, and continues for a month or six weeks. They then fly very 
high above the trees, far apart, like a disbanded army, propeUing them- 
selves by reiterated flaps of the wings, at the end of each successive curve 
which they describe in their flight. The note which they emit at this time 
is different from the usual one, sharp and easily heard from the ground, 
although the birds may be out of sight. This note is continued, as if it 
were necessary for keeping the straggling party in good humour. At 
dawn of day, the whole alight on the tops of the dead trees about the 
plantations, and remain in search of food imtil the approach of sunset, 
when they again, one after another, mount the air, and continue their 

With the exception of the Mocking Bird, I know no species so gay 
and frolicksome. Indeed, their whole hfe is one of pleasure. They find a 
superabundance of food everywhere, as well as the best facilities for raising 
their broods. The little labour which they perform is itself a source of 
enjoyment, for it is undertaken either with an assurance of procuring the 
nicest dainties, or for the purpose of excavating a hole for the reception 
of themselves, their eggs, or their families. They do not seem to be much 
afraid of man, although they have scarcely a more dangerous enemy. 
When alighted on a fence-stake by the road, or in a field, and one ap- 
proaches them, they gradually move sidewise out of sight, peeping now 
and then to discover your intention ; and when you are quite close and 


opposite, lie still until you are past, when they hop to the top of the 
stake, and rattle upon it with their bill, as if to congratulate themselves 
on the success of their cunning. Should you approach within arm's length, 
which may fre(iuently be done, the Woodpecker flies to the next stake or 
the second from you, bends his head to peep, and rattles again, as if to 
provoke you to a continuance of what seems to him excellent sport. He 
alights on the roof of the house, hops along it, beats the shingles, utters a 
cry, and dives into your garden to pick the finest strawberries which he 
can discover. 

I would not recommend to any one to trust their fruit to the Red- 
heads ; for they not only feed on all kinds as they ripen, but destroy an 
immense quantity besides. No sooner are the cherries seen to redden, 
than these birds attack them. They arrive on all sides, coming from 
a distance of miles, and seem the while to care little about the satisfaction 
you might feel in eating some also. Trees of this kind are stripped clean 
by them. When one has ahghted and tasted the first cherry, he utters 
his call-note, jerks his tail, nods his head, and at it again in an instant. 
When fatigued, he loads his bill with one or two, and away to his nest, 
to supply his young. 

It is impossible to form any estimate of the nvuiiber of these birds seen 
in the United States during the summer months ; but this much I may 
safely assert, that an hundred have been shot vipon a single cherry-tree in 
one day. Pears, Peaches, Apples, Pigs, Mulberries, and even Pease, are 
thus attacked. I am not disposed to add to these depredations those 
which they commit upon the Corn, either when young and juicy, or when 
approaching maturity, lest I should seem too anxious to heap accusations 
upon individuals, who, although culprits, are possessed of many undeni- 
ably valuable qualities. 

But to return : — They feed on apples as well as on other fruit, and 
carry them off" by thrusting into them their sharp bills when open, with 
all their force, when they fly away to a fence-stake or a tree, and devour 
them at leisure. They have another bad habit, which is that of sucking 
the eggs of small birds. For this purpose, they frequently try to enter 
the boxes of the Martins or Blue-birds, as well as the jiigeon-houses, and 
are often successful. The corn, as it ripens, is laid bare by their bill, 
when they feed on the top parts of the ear, and leave the rest either to the 
Grakles or the Squirrels, or still worse, to decay, after a shower has fallen 
upon it. 


All this while the Red-heads are full of gaiety. No sooner have they 
satisfied their hunger, than small parties of them assemble on the tops and 
branches of decayed trees, from which they chase different insects that are 
passing through the air, launching after them for eight or ten yards, at 
times performing the most singular manoeuvres, and, on securing their vic- 
tim, return to the tree, where, immediately after, a continued cry of exulta- 
tion is uttered. They chase each other on wing in a very amicable manner, 
in long, beautifully curved sweeps, during which the remarkable variety of 
their plvimage becomes conspicuous, and is highly pleasing to the eye. 
When passing from one tree to another, their flight resembles the motion 
of a great swing, and is performed by a single opening of the wings, de- 
scending at first, and rising towards the spot on which they are going to 
alight with ease, and in the most graceful manner. They move upwards, 
sidewise, or backwards, without apparent effort, but seldom with the head 
downwards, as Nuthatches and some smaller species of Woodpeckers are 
wont to do. 

Their curving from one tree to another, in the manner just described, 
is frequently performed as if they intended to attack a bird of their own spe- 
cies; and it is amusing to see the activity with which the latter baffles his an- 
tagonist, as he scrambles sidewise round the tree with astonishing celerity, in 
the same manner in which one of these birds, suspecting a man armed with 
a gun, will keep winding round the trunk of a tree, until a good oppor- 
tunity pi'esents itself of sailing off to another. In this manner a man may 
follow from one tree to another over a whole field, without procuring a 
shot, unless he watches his opportunity and fires while the bird is on wing. 
On the ground, this species is by no means awkward, as it hops there with 
ease, and secures beetles which it had espied whilst on the fence or a tree. 
It is seldom that a nest newly perforated by these birds is to be found, 
as they generally resort to those of preceding years, contenting themselves 
with working them a little deeper. These holes are found not only in 
every decaying tree, but often to the number of ten or a dozen in a single 
trunk, some just begun, others far advanced, and others ready to receive 
the eggs. The great nvmiber of these holes, thus left in different stages, 
depends upon the difficulties which the bird may experience in finishing 
them ; for whenever it finds the wood hard and difficult to be bored, it 
tries another spot. So few green or living trees are perforated by this 
species, that I cannot at the present moment recollect having seen a single 
instance of such an occurrence. 


All Woodpeckers are extremely expert at discovering insects as they 
lie under the bark of trees. No sooner have they alighted, than they 
stand for a few moments motionless and listening. If no motion is ob- 
served in the bark, the Woodpecker gives a smart rap with its bill, and 
bending its neck sidewise lays its head close to it, when the least crawling 
motion of a beetle or even a larva is instantly discovered, and the bird 
forthwith attacks the tree, removes the bark, and continues to dig until it 
reaches its prey, when it secvu-es and swallows it. This manner of obtain- 
ing food is observed particularly during the winter, when few forest fruits 
are to be found. Should they, at this season, discover a vine loaded with 
grapes, they are seen hanging to the branches by their feet, and helping 
themselves with their bill. At this time they also resort to the corn-cribs, 
and feed on the com gathered and laid up by the farmers. 

In Louisiana and Kentucky, the Red-headed Woodpecker rears two 
broods each year ; in the Middle Districts more usually only one. The 
female lays from two to six eggs, which are pure white and translucent, 
sometimes in holes not more than six feet from the ground, at other times 
as high as possible. The young birds have at first the upper part of the 
head grey ; but towards autumn the red begins to appear. During the 
first winter, the red is seen richly intermixed with the grey feathers, and, 
at the approach of spring, scarcely any difference is perceptible between 
the sexes. 

The Red-headed Woodpecker is found in all parts of the United 
States. Its flesh is tough, and smells strongly of ants and other insects, 
so as to be scarcely eatable. 

A European friend of mine, on seeing some of these birds for the first 
time, as he was crossing the Alleghanies, wrote me, on reaching Pittsburg, 
that he had met with a beautiful species of Jay, the plumage of which 
was red, black and white, and its manners so gentle, that it suffered him 
to approach so near as the foot of a low tree on which it was. 

On being wounded in the wing, they cry as they fall, and continue 

to do so for many minutes after being taken, pecking at their foe with 

great vigour. If not picked up, they make to the nearest tree, and are 

soon out of reach, as they can climb by leaps of considerable length faster 

than can be imagined. The number of insects of all sorts destroyed by 

this bird alone is incalculable, and it thus affords to the husbandman a 

full return for the mischief which it commits in his garden and fields. 

In Kentucky and the Southern States, many of these birds are killed 



in the following manner. As soon as the Red-heads have begun to visit 
a Cherry or Apple tree, a pole is placed along the trunk of the tree, pass- 
ing up amongst the central branches, and extending six or seven feet be- 
yond the highest twigs. The Woodpeckers alight by preference on the 
pole, and while their body is close to it, a man standing at the foot of the 
pole gives it a smart blow with the head of an axe, on the opposite side 
to that on which the Woodpecker is, when, in consequence of the sudden 
and violent vibration produced in the upper part, the bird is thrown off 

Picus ERYTHROCEPHALUS, Linn. Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. 174. — Lath. Ind. Omith. 

vol. i. p. 227. — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 45. 
Red-headed Woodpecker, Picus erythrocephalus, Wilson, Amer. Ornith. 

vol. L p. 142. PI. ix. fig. i — Lath. Synops. voL ii. p. 561. 

Adult Male. Plate XXVII. Fig. 1. 

Bill longish, straight, strong, compressed toward the tip, which is 
vertically acute ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline nearly straight, 
the edges acute and overlapping ; under mandible with acute, slightly 
inflected edges. Nostrils basal, elliptical, direct, open. Head rather 
large ; neck short ; body robust. Feet short ; tarsus and toes scutellate ; 
two toes before and two behind, the inner hind toe shortest ; claws strong, 
arched, acute. 

Plumage glossy, generally blended, on the back and wings compact. 
Wings longish, third and fourth quills longest. Tail much rounded, of 
twelve decurved stiff feathers, worn by rubbing to an acute, ragged point, 
Palpebral region bare. 

Bill light blue, dark at the tip. Feet of the same colour. Iris dark 
hazel, palpebral region bluish. Head and neck bright crimson. Back- 
wing-coverts, primaries and tail-feathers black, with blue reflections ; 
rump and secondaries white, the shafts of the latter black. Breast and 
abdomen white, tinged with yellowish-brown ; an irregular transverse 
narrow band of black at the junction of the red of the fore-neck and the 
white of the breast. 

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 17 ; bill along the ridge 1 , along 
the gap 1 1 ; tarsus 1 , 

Adult Female. Plate XXVII. Fig. 2. 


The female difFersTrom the male only in being smaller, and in having 
the tints of the plmnage somewhat less vivid. 
Length 8| inches. 

Young Birds. Plate XXVII. Fig. &, 3, 3. 

The young when fully fledged have the bill and iris dark brown, the 
feet bluish. The head and neck are dark brownish-grey, mottled with 
small streaks of dark brown ; the back and wing-coverts of the same 
colour, spotted with darker ; the primaries brownish-black, margined 
with whitish, the secondaries yellowish-white, barred with black ; the tail 
brownish-black, tipped with white ; the rump and under parts greyish- 

( 147 ) 


PLATE XXVIII. Male and Female. 

This, reader, is one of the scarce birds that visit the United States from 
the south, and I have much pleasure in being able to give you an account 
of it, as hitherto little or nothing has been known of its history. 

It is an inhabitant of Louisiana during the spring and summer months, 
when it resorts to the thick cane-brakes of the alluvial lands near the 
Mississippi, and the borders of the numberless swamps that lie in a di- 
rection parallel to that river. It is many years since I discovered it, but 
as I am not at all anxious respecting priority of names, I shall not insist 
upon this circumstance. In the month of May 1809, 1 killed a male and 
a female of this species, near the mouth of the Ohio, while on a shooting 
expedition after young swans. The following spring, I killed a female 
near Henderson in Kentucky. In 1821, I again procured a pair, with 
their nest and eggs, near the mouth of Bayou La Fourche, on the Mis- 
sissippi, and since that period have killed eight or ten pairs. 

The nest is prettily constructed, and fixed in a partially pensile man- 
ner between two twigs of a low bush, on a branch running horizontally 
from the main stem. It is formed externally of grey lichens, slightly put 
together, and lined with hair, chiefly from the deer and raccoon. The 
female lays four or five eggs, which are white, with a strong tinge of 
flesh-colour, and sprinkled with brownish-red dots at the larger end. I 
am inchned to believe that the bird raises only one brood in a season. 

The manners of this bird are not those of the Titmouse, Fly-catcher, 
or Warbler, but partake of those of all three. It has the want of shyness 
exhibited in the Red-eyed and Yellow-throated Fly-catchers. It hangs 
to bunches of small berries, feeding upon them as a Titmouse does on 
buds of trees ; and again searches amongst the leaves and along the twigs 
of low bushes, like most of the Warblers. On the other hand, it differs 
from all these in their principal habits. Thus, it never snaps at insects 
on the wing, although it pursues them ; it never attacks small birds and 
kills them by breaking in their skulls, as the Titmouse does ; nor does it 

K 2 


hold its prey under its foot in the way of the Yellow-throated Fly-catcher 
or Vireo, a habit which allies the latter to the Shrikes. On account of all 
these circumstances, I look upon this bird as deserving the attention of 
systematic writers, who probably will find its proper place in the general 

The flight of this bird is performed by a continued tremor of the 
wings, as if it were at all times angry. It seldom rises high above its fa- 
vourite cane-brakes, but is seen hopping up and down about the stems of 
low bushes and the stalks of the canes, silently searching for food, more in 
the manner of the Worm-eating Warbler than in that of any other bird 
known to me. Their confidence at the approach of man is very remark- 
able. They look on without moving until you are within a few feet, and 
retire only in proportion as you advance towards them. In this respect 
it resembles the White-eyed Fly-catcher. 

When wounded by a shot, it remains quite still on the ground, opens 
its biU when you approach it, and bites with aU its might when laid hold 
of, although its strength is not sufficient to enable it to inflict a wound. 
I have never heard it utter a note beyond that of a querulous low mur- 
muring sound, when chasing another bird from the vicinity of its nest. 
The young all leave the nest, if once touched, and hide among the grass 
and weeds, where the parents continue to feed them. I once attempted 
to feed some young birds of this species, but they rejected the food, which 
consisted of flies, worms, and hard-boiled eggs, and died in three days with- 
out ever uttering a note. In 1829, I shot one of these birds, a fine male, 
in the Great Pine Swamp. This was the only individual I ever saw to the 
eastward of Henderson on the Ohio. As this happened in the beginning 
of September, it is probable that some migrate to a considerable distance 
north-east ; but I am at the same time of opinion that very few of these 
birds enter the United States. 

I have represented a pair of them killed near a nest in a cane-brake. 
A general description of the American Cane wiU be found in the present 

Vireo solitarius, Ch. Bonaparte. Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 70. 

Solitary Fly-catcher, Muscicapa solitaria, Wils, Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. 
p. 143. PI. xvii. fig. 6. 

Adult Male. Plate XXVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill rather short, broad and depressed at the base, strong, nearly 


straight ; upper mandible with the sides convex, the edges overlapping 
and notched near the tip, which is suddenly decurved ; lower mandible a 
little shorter, convex on the sides and back. Nostrils basal, roundish. 
Head and neck large. Body ovate. Feet of ordinary length, rather 
strong ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with transverse scuteUa ; 
toes free, scutellate above, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws arched, 
compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, tufty. Bristle-pointed feathers at the base of the 
bill. Wings of ordinary length, the third quiU longest. Tail slightly 
forked, of twelve feathers. 

Bill black above, Ught blue beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet and 
claws light blue. Head and back light olive-green ; cheeks of the same 
colour. A band of white on the forehead, passing over the eye, and 
nearly encircling it, leaving the loral space dark green. Rump and up- 
per tail-coverts greenish-brown. Quills blackish-brown, margined exter- 
nally with brownish-yellow ; two first rows of coverts blackish-brown, 
largely tipped with white, forming two bands on the wing. Tail brown- 
ish-black, margined externally with yellowish- white. Under parts brown- 
ish-grey, fading posteriorly into white. 

Length 5 1 inches, extent of wings 8^ ; biU along the ridge -^^ along 
the gap ^ ; tarsus f . 

Adult Female. Plate XXVIII. Fig. 2. 

The female is considerably duller. The colouring is generally simi- 
lar, but the head is brownish-grey, and the band on the forehead and 
round the eyes narrower and tinged with grey. 

Length 5^. 

The American Cane. 

MiEGiA MACROSPERMA, Pursh. Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 69. Ahundinaria siacros- 
PERMA, Mich. Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 74 — Triandria Monogynia, imra. Gra- 


As the Cane is elsewhere described, it is unnecessary to speak parti- 
cularly of it here. 

( 150 ) 


Fringilla erythrophthalma, Linn. 

PLATE XXIX. Male and Female. 

The flight of the Towhe Bunting is short, low, and performed from 
one bush or spot to another, in a hurried manner, with repeated strong 
jerks of the tail, and such quick motions of the wings, that one may hear 
their sound, although the bird should happen to be out of sight. On the 
ground, where it is more usually to be seen, it hops lightly, without mov- 
ing the tail more than the Common Sparrow of Europe. It is a diligent 
bird, spending its days in searching for food and gravel, amongst the 
dried leaves and in the earth, scratching with great assiduity, and every 
now and then uttering the notes tow-kee, from which it has obtained its 
name. At other times, it ascends to the top of a small tree, or its fa- 
vourite low bushes and briars, on which it sings very sweetly a few con- 
tinued mellow notes. 

This species constructs a larger nest than birds of its size usually do_, 
and scoops out a place for its foundation in the earth, sometimes in an 
open spot, more commonly at the foot of a small sapling or large bunch 
of tall grass. The nest is sunk into the ground, so as to be level with it 
at top, and is composed of dried leaves and the bark of vines, lined with 
grasses of fine texture, as well as fibrous roots. The female lays from 
four to six eggs, and rears two, sometimes three, broods each season. If 
disturbed while sitting, she moves off apparently in great agony, but with 
more celerity than most other birds, by which means she generally pre- 
vents her nest being discovered. Snakes, however, suck the eggs, as does 
the Crow. The young leave the nest long before they are able to fly, and 
follow the mother about on the ground for several days. Some of the 
nests of this species are so well concealed, that in order to discover them, 
one requires to stand quite still on the first appearance of the mother. I 
have myself several times had to regret not taking this precaution. 

The favourite haunts of the Towhe Buntings are dry barren tracts, 
but not, as others have said, low and swampy grounds, at least during 
the season of incubation. In the Barrens of Kentucky they are found 
in the greatest abundance. 


Their migrations are performed by day, from bush to bush, and they 
seem to be much at a loss when a large extent of forest is to be traversed 
by them. They perform these journeys almost singly. The females set 
out before the males in autvimn, and the males before the females in 
spring, the latter not appearing in the Middle Districts until the end of 
April, a fortnight after the males have arrived. Many of them pass the 
confines of the United States in their migrations southward and north- 

Although these birds are abundant in aU parts of the Union, they ne- 
ver associate in flocks, but mingle during winter with several species of 
Sparrow. They generally rest on the ground at night, when many are 
caught by weasels and other small quadrupeds. None of them breed in 
Louisiana, nor indeed in the State of Mississippi, until they reach the 
open woods of the Choctaw Indian Nation. 

I have represented the male and female moving through the twigs of 
the Common Briar, usually called the BlacJc Briar. It is a plump bird, 
and becomes very fat in winter, in consequence of which it is named 
Grasset in Louisiana, where many are shot for the table by the French 

Fringilla erythrophthalma, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 318.— CA. Bonaparte, 

Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 112. 
Emberiza erythrophthalma, Lath. Ind. Omith. vol. i. p. 413. 
TowHE Bunting, Emberiza ehythrophthalma, Wils. Amer. Ornitli. vol. ii. 

p. 35. PI. 10. fig. 5, Male ; vol. vi. p. 90. PI. 53. fig. 5. Female — Lath. Synops. 

vol. iii. p. 199. 

Adult Male. Plate XXIX. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, robust, narrower than the head, regularly conical, acute ; 
upper mandible almost straight in its dorsal outline, as is the lower, both 
having inflected edges ; the gap line nearly straight, a little deflected at 
the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, open, partially concealed by the 
feathers. Head rather large, neck shortish, body robust. Legs of mo- 
derate length, rather robust ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered 
anteriorly with a few longish scuteUa ; toes scutellate above, free, the la- 
teral ones nearly equal ; claws slender, arched, compressed, acute, that of 
the hind toe long. 

Plumage rather compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings of 


ordinary length, the tMrd and fourth quills longest, the first much shorter, 
the secondaries short. Tail long, rounded, the lateral feathers slightly 
curved outwards towards the tip. 

Bill black. Iris bright red. Legs and claws pale yeUo wish-brown. 
Head, neck, and upper parts generally, deep black. A white band 
across the primaries, partly concealed by their coverts ; outer edge of 
first quill white ; margins of the last secondaries brownish-white. La- 
teral tail-feathers white, excepting at the base, and a longitudinal streak 
towards the tip, on the outer web ; the next two white on the inner web, 
towards the end. Breast white, abdomen pale red ; sides and lateral 
parts of the breast brownish-red. 

Length 8§ inches, extent of wings 12 ; beak along the ridge |, 
along the gap | ; tarsus 1|, middle toe 1, hind toe f. 

Adult Female. Plate XXIX. Fig. 2. 

The female is scarcely smaller, and differs from the male in having 
the parts which in him are of a deep black, reddish-brown, excepting the 
bill, which is almost entirely light blue, the ridge of the upper mandible 
only being dark brown. 

Length 8\ inches. 

In the adult bird the iris is bright red, but in the young it is fre- 
quently brown, and sometimes yellowish-white. In some instances, one 
eye is brown and the other red. 

The Blackberry. 

RuBUS viLLOsus, Willd. Sp. PI. voL ii. p. 1085. Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 346 — 


Pubescent, prickly, with angular twigs ; the leaves ternate or qui- 
nate, with ovato-oblong, serrate, acuminate leaflets, downy on both sides ; 
the calycine leaves short, acuminate ; and a loose raceme of white flowers. 
The berry is black. This species grows abundantly in old fields and by 

( 133 ) 


Sylvia Vigomsii. 


I KEGRET that I am unable to give any account of the habits of a 
species which I have honoured with the name of a naturalist whose mei'its 
are so well known to the learned world. The individual represented in the 
plate I shot upwards of twenty years ago, and have never met with ano- 
ther of its kind. It was in the month of May, on a small island of the 
Perkioming Creek, forming part of my farm of Mill Grove, in the State 
of Pennsylvania. The bird was flittering amongst grasses, uttering an 
often repeated cheep. 

The plant on which it is represented is that on which it was perched 
when I shot it, and is usually called Spider-ioort. It grows in damp and 
shady places, as well as sometimes in barren lands, near the banks of 

Sylvia Vigohsii. 

Male. Plate XXX. 

Bill of ordinary length, rather robust, depressed at the base, straight, 
acute; upper mandible notched, slightly deflected at the tip; lower 
shorter. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body ovate. I.,egs of ordi- 
nary length, slender ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly covered with a few 
long scutella, toes free, the lateral ones nearly equal, the middle toe much 
longer ; claws weak, much compressed, acute, slightly arched. 

Plumage soft, tufty, blended. Wings of ordinary size, the second 
quill longest. Tail longish, a little forked, of twelve feathers. A few 
small basirostral bristles. 

Bill brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet flesh-coloured. Head 
and back hght greenish-brown. Wings blackish-brown, the first two 
rows of coverts tipped with white. Tail of the some colour, the outer 
feather white. Throat pale grey, lower neck and breast ochre-yeUow, 
abdomen yellowish-white. 


Length 6 inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill along the ridge yg , along 
the gap x'g ; tarsus |, middle toe f . 

The Virginian Spider-wort. 

Tradescavtia vihginica, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. IC. Pttrsh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. 
. ' 1i<( p. 218 — Hexandria Monogynia, Linn. Junci, Juss. 

This species is distinguished by its erect, succulent stem; elongated, 
lanceolate, smooth leaves ; and umbellate, subsessile flowers, which are of 
a deep purple colour, with yellow anthers. 

( 155 ) 


Many of our larger streams, such as the Mississippi, the Ohio, the 
Illinois, the Arkansas and the Red River, exhibit at certain seasons the 
most extensive overflowings of their waters, to which the name of Jloods 
is more appropriate than the term freshets, usually applied to the sudden 
risings of smaller streams. If we consider the vast extent of country 
through which an inland navigation is afforded by the never-failing sup- 
ply of water furnished by these wonderful rivers, we cannot suppose them 
exceeded in magnitude by any other in the known world. It will easily 
be imagined what a wonderful spectacle must present itself to the eye of 
the traveller, who for the first time views the enormous mass of waters, 
collected from the vast central regions of our continent, booming along, 
turbid and swollen to overflowing, in the broad channels of the Missis- 
sippi and Ohio, the latter of which has a course of more than a thousand 
miles, and the former of several thousands. 

To give you some idea of a Booming Flood of these gigantic streams, 
it is necessary to state the causes which give rise to it. These are, the 
sudden melting of the snows on the mountains, and heavy rains continued 
for several weeks. When it happens that, during a severe winter, the 
Alleghany Mountains have been covered with snow to the depth of seve- 
ral feet, and the accumulated mass has remained unmelted for a length of 
time, the materials of a flood are thus prepared. It now and then hap- 
pens that the winter is hurried off" by a sudden increase of temperature, 
when the accumulated snows melt away simultaneously over the whole 
country, and the south-easterly wind which then usually blows, brings 
along with it a continued fall of heavy rain, which, mingling with the dis- 
solving snow, deluges the alluvial portions of the western country, filling 
up the rivulets, ravines, creeks and small rivers. These delivering their 
waters to the great streams, cause the latter not merely to rise to a sur- 
prising height, but to overflow their banks, wherever the land is low. On 
such occasions, the Ohio itself presents a splendid, and at the same time an 
appalling spectacle ; but when its waters mingle with those of the Missis- 
sippi, then, kind reader, is the time to view an American flood in all its 
astonishing magnificence. 

At the foot of the Falls of the Ohio^ the water has been known to rise 

156 A FLOOD. 

upwards of sixty feet above its lowest level. The river, at this point, has 
already run a course of nearly seven hundred miles, from its origin at Pitts- 
burg, in Pennsylvania, during which it has received the waters of its num- 
berless tributaries, and overflowing all the bottom lands or valleys, has 
swept along the fences and dwellings which have been vniable to resist its 
violence. I could relate hundreds of incidents which might prove to you 
the dreadful effects of such an inundation, and which have been witnessed 
by thousands besides myself. I have known, for example, of a cow 
swimming through a window, elevated at least seven feet from the 
ground, and sixty-two feet above low-water mark. The house was then 
surrounded by water from the Ohio, which runs in front of it, while the 
neighbouring country was overflowed ; yet the family did not remove 
from it, but reinained in its upper portion, having previously taken off 
the sashes of the lower windows, and opened the doors. But let us re- 
turn to the Mississippi. 

There the overflow is astonishing ; for no sooner has the water reach- 
ed the upper part of the banks, than it rushes out and overspreads the 
whole of the neighbouring swamps, presenting an ocean overgrown with 
stupendous forest-trees. So sudden is the calamity, that every indivi- 
dual, whether man or beast, has to exert his utmost ingenuity to enable 
him to escape from the dreaded element. The Indian quickly removes 
to the hills of the interior, the cattle and game swim to the different 
stripes of land that remain uncovered in the midst of the flood, or at- 
tempt to force their way through the waters until they perish from 
fatigue. Along the banks of the river, the inhabitants have rafts ready 
made, on which they remove themselves, their cattle and their provisions, 
and which they then fasten with ropes or grape-vines to the larger trees, 
while they contemplate the melancholy spectacle presented by the current, 
as it carries off their houses and wood-yards piece by piece. Some who 
have nothing to lose, and are usually known by the name of Squatters, 
take this opportunity of traversing the woods in canoes, for the purpose 
of procuring game, and particularly the skins of animals, such as the 
deer and bear, which may be converted into money. They resort to the 
low ridges surrounded by the waters, and destroy thousands of deer, 
merely for their skins, leaving the flesh to putrefy. 

The river itself, rolling its swollen waters along, presents a spectacle 
of the most imposing nature. Although no large vessel, unless propelled 
by steam, can now make its way against the current, it is seen covered 

A FLOOD. 157 

by boats, laden with produce, which running out from all the smaller 
streams, float silently towards the City of New Orleans, their owners 
meanwhile not very well assured of finding a landing-place even there. 
The water is covered with yellow foam and pumice, the latter having 
floated from the Rocky Mountains of the north-west. The eddies are 
larger and more powerful than ever. Here and there tracts of forest are 
observed undermined, the trees gradually giving way, and falling into 
the stream. Cattle, horses, bears and deer are seen at times attempting 
to swim across the impetuous mass of ioaming and boiling water ; whilst 
here and there a Vulture or an Eagle is observed perched on a bloated 
carcass, tearing it up in pieces, as regardless of the flood, as on former 
occasions it would have been of the numerous sawyers and planters, with 
which the surface of the river is covered, when the water is low. Even 
the steamer is frequently distressed. The numberless trees and logs that 
float along break its paddles and retard its progress. Besides, it is on 
such occasions difficult to procure fuel to maintain its fires ; and it is 
only at very distant intervals that a wood-yard can be found which the 
water has not carried off". 

Following the river in your canoe, you reach those parts of the shores 
that are protected against the overflowing of the waters, and are called 
Levees. There you find the whole population of the district at work re- 
pairing and augmenting those artificial barriers, which are several feet 
above the level of the fields. Every person appears to dread the 
opening of a crevasse, by which the waters may rush into his fields. In 
spite of all exertions, however, the crevasse opens, the water bursts impe- 
tuously over the plantations, and lays waste the crops which so lately were 
blooming in all the luxuriance of spring. It opens up a new channel, 
which, for aught I know to the contrary, may carry its waters even to 
the Mexican Gulf. 

I have floated on the Mississippi and Ohio when thus swollen, and 
have in different places visited the submersed lands of the interior, pro- 
pelling a light canoe by the aid of a paddle. In this manner I have tra- 
versed immense portions of the country overflowed by the waters of 
these rivers, and, particularly whilst floating over the Mississippi bottom- 
lands, I have been struck with awe at the sight. Little or no current is 
met with, unless when the canoe passes over the bed of a bayou. All is 
silent and melancholy, unless when the mournful bleeting of the hem- 
med in Deer reaches your ear, or the dismal scream of an Eagle or a 

158 A FLOOD. 

Raven is heard, as the foul bird rises, disturbed by your approach, from 
the carcass on which it was allaying its craving appetite. Bears, Cou- 
gars, Lynxes, and all other quadrupeds that can ascend the trees, are ob- 
served crouched among their top branches. Hungry in the midst of 
abundance, although they see floating around them the animals on which 
they usually prey, they dare not venture to swim to them. Fatigued 
by the exertions which they have made in reaching the dry land, they 
will there stand the hunter's fire, as if to die by a ball were better than 
to perish amid the waste of waters. On occasions like this, all these ani- 
mals are shot by hundreds. 

Opposite the City of Natchez, which stands on a bluff bank of consi- 
derable elevation, the extent of inundated land is immense, the greater 
portion of the tract lying between the Mississippi and the Red River, 
which is more than thirty miles in breadth, being under water. The 
mail-bag has often been carried through the immersed forests, in a canoe, 
for even a greater distance, in order to be forwarded to Natchitochez. 

But now, kind reader, observe this great flood gradually subsiding, 
and again see the mighty changes which it has effected. The waters 
have now been carried into the distant ocean. The earth is everywhere 
covered by a deep deposit of muddy loam, which in drying splits into 
deep and narrow chasms, presenting a reticulated appearance, and from 
which, as the weather becomes warmer, disagreeable, and at times noxious, 
exhalations arise, and fill the lower stratum of the atmosphere as with a 
dense fog. The banks of the river have almost everywhere been broken 
down in a greater or less degree. Large streams are now found to exist, 
where none were formerly to be seen, having forced their way in direct 
lines from the upper parts of the bends. These are by the navigator 
called short-cuts. Some of them have proved large enough to produce a 
change in the navigation of the Mississippi. If I mistake not, one of 
these, known by the name of the Grand Cut-off, and only a few miles in 
length, has diverted the river from its natural course, and has shortened 
it by fifty miles. The upper parts of the islands present a bulwark con- 
sisting of an enormous mass of floated trees of all kinds, which have 
lodged there. Large sand-banks have been completely removed by the 
impetuous whirls of the waters, and have been deposited in other places. 
Some appear quite new to the eye of the navigator, who has to mark 
their situation and bearings in his log-book. The trees on the margins of 
the banks have in many parts given way. They are seen bending over 

A FLOOD. 159 

the stream, like the grounded arms of an overwhelmed army of giants. 
Everywhere are heard the lamentations of the farmer and planter, whilst 
their servants and themselves are busily employed in repairing the 
damages occasioned by the floods. At one crevasse an old ship or two, 
dismantled for the purpose, are simk, to obstruct the passage opened by 
the stiU rushing waters, while new earth is brought to fill up the chasms. 
The squatter is seen shouldering his rifle, and making his way through 
the morass, in search of his lost stock, to drive the survivors home, and 
save the skins of the drowned. New fences have everywhere to be form- 
ed ; even new houses must be erected, to save which from a like disas- 
ter, the settler places them on an elevated platform supported by pillars 
made of the trunks of trees. The lands must be ploughed anew, and if 
the season is not too far advanced, a crop of corn and potatoes may yet 
be raised. But the rich prospects of the planter are blasted. The tra^ 
veUer is impeded in his journey, the creeks and smaller streams having 
broken up their banks in a degree proportionate to their size. A bank 
of sand, which seems firm and secure, suddenly gives way beneath the 
traveller's horse, and the next moment the animal has sunk in the quick- 
sand, either to the chest in front, or over the crupper behind, leaving its 
master in a situation not to be envied. 

Unlike the mountain-torrents and small rivers of other parts of the 
world, the Mississippi rises but slowly during these floods, continuing for 
several weeks to increase at the rate of about an inch in the day. When 
at its height, it undergoes little fluctuation for some days, and after this 
subsides as slowly as it rose. The usual duration of a flood is from four 
to six weeks, although, on some occasions, it is protracted to two months. 

Every one knows how largely the idea of floods and cataclysms enters 
into the speculations of the geologist. If the streamlets of the European 
Continent afford illustrations of the formation of strata, how much more 
must the Mississippi, with its ever-shifting sand-banks, its crumbling 
shores, its enormous masses of drift timber, the source of future beds of 
coal, its extensive and varied alluvial deposits, and its mighty mass of 
waters rolling sullenly along, like the flood of eternity ! 

( 160 ) 


Falco leucocephalus, Linn. 


The figure of this noble bird is well known throughout the civilized 
world, emblazoned as it is on our national standard, which waves in the 
breeze of every clime, bearing to distant lands the remembrance of a 
great people Kving in a state of peaceful freedom. JNIay that peaceful 
freedom last for ever ! 

The great strength, daring, and cool courage of the White-headed 
Eagle, joined to his unequalled power of flight, render him highly conspi- 
cuous among his brethren. To these qualities did he add a generous dis- 
position towards others, he might be looked up to as a model of nobility. 
The ferocious, overbearing, and tyrannical temper which is ever and 
anon displaying itself in his actions, is, nevertheless, best adapted to his 
state, and was wisely given him by the Creator to enable him to perform 
the office assigned to him. 

To give you, kind reader, some idea of the nature of this bird, per- 
mit me to place you on the Mississippi, on which you may float gently 
along, while approaching winter brings millions of water-fowl on whistl- 
ing wings, from the countries of the north, to seek a milder climate in 
which to sojourn for a season. The Eagle is seen perched, in an erect 
attitude, on the highest summit of the tallest tree by the margin of the 
broad stream. His glistening but stern eye looks over the vast expanse. 
He listens attentively to every sound that comes to his quick ear fromi 
afar, glancing now and then on the earth beneath, lest even the light 
tread of the fawn may pass unheard. His mate is perched on the oppo- 
site side, and should all be tranquil and silent, warns him by a cry to 
continue patient. At this well known call, the male partly opens his 
broad wings, incUnes his body a little downwards, and answers to her 
voice in tones not unlike the laugh of a maniac. The next moment, 
he resumes his erect attitude, and again all around is silent. Ducks 
of many species, the Teal, the Wigeon, the Mallard and others, are 
seen passing with great rapidity, and following the course of the cur- 
rent ; but the Eagle heeds them not : they are at that time beneath 


his attention. The next moment, however, the wild trumpet-hke sound 
of a yet distant but approaching Swan is heard. A shriek from the 
female Eagle comes across the stream, — for, kind reader, she is fully as 
alert as her mate. The latter suddenly shakes the whole of his body, 
and with a few touches of his bill, aided by the action of his cuticidar 
muscles, arranges his plumage in an instant. The snow-white bird is 
now in sight : her long neck is stretched forward, her eye is on the 
watch, vigilant as that of her enemy ; her large wings seem with dif- 
ficulty to support the weight of her body, although they flap incessantly. 
So irksome do her exertions seem, that her very legs are spread beneath 
her tail, to aid her in her flight. She approaches, however. The Eagle 
has marked her for his prey. As the Swan is passing the dreaded pair, 
starts from his perch, in full preparation for the chase, the male bird, 
with an awful scream, that to the Swan's ear brings more terror than the 
report of the large duck-gun. 

Now is the moment to witness the display of the Eagle's powers. He 
glides through the air like a falling star, and, like a flash of lightning, 
comes upon the timorous quarry, which now, in agony and despair, seeks, 
by various manoeuvres, to elude the grasp of his cruel talons. It mounts, 
doubles, and willingly would plunge into the stream, were it not prevent- 
ed by the Eagle, which, long possessed of the knowledge that by such a 
stratagem the Swan might escape him, forces it to remain in the air by 
attempting to strike it with his talons from beneath. The hope of es- 
cape is soon given up by the Swan. It has already become much weak- 
ened, and its strength fails at the sight of the courage and swiftness of its 
antagonist. Its last gasp is about to escape, when the ferocious Eagle 
strikes with his talons the under side of its wing, and with unresisted 
power forces the bird to fall in a slanting direction upon the nearest 
shore. v _„ 

It is then, reader, that you may see the cruel spirit of this dreaded 
enemy of the feathered race, whilst, exulting over his prey, he for the 
first time breathes at ease. He presses doAvn his powerful feet, and 
drives his sharp claws deeper than ever into the heart of the dying Swan. 
He shrieks with delight, as he feels the last convulsions of his prey, which 
has now sunk under his unceasing efforts to render death as painfully 
felt as it can possibly be. The female has watched every movement of her 
mate ; and if she did not assist him in capturing the Swan, it was not 
from want of will, but merely that she felt full assurance that the power 


and courage of her lord were quite sufficient for the deed. She now sails 
to the spot where he eagerly awaits her, and when she has arrived, they 
together turn the breast of the luckless Swan upwards, and gorge them- 
selves with gore. 

At other times, when these Eagles, sailing in search of prey, discover 
/ a Goose, a Duck, or a Swan, that has alighted on the water, they accom- 
plish its destruction in a manner that is worthy of your attention. The 
Eagles, well aware that water-fowl have it in their power to dive at their 
/ approach, and thereby elude their attempts upon them, ascend in the air 
/ in opposite directions over the lake or river, on which they have observed 
: J the object which they are desirous of possessing. Both Eagles reach a 
certain height, immediately after which one of them glides with great 
swiftness towards the prey ; the latter, meantime, aware of the Eagle's in- 
tention, dives the moment before he reaches the spot. The pursuer then 
rises in the air, and is met by its mate, which glides toward the water- 
bird, that has just emerged to breathe, and forces it to plunge again be- 
\ neath the surface, to escape the talons of this second assailant. The first 
\ Eagle is now poising itself in the place where its mate formerly was, and 
; rushes anew to force the quarry to make another plunge. By thus alter- 
nately gliding, in rapid and often repeated rushes, over the ill-fated bird, 
they soon fatigue it, when it stretches out its neck, swims deeply, and 
makes for the shore, in the hope of conceaUng itself among the rank 
weeds. But this is of no avail, for the Eagles follow it in all its mo- 
tions, and the moment it approaches the margin, one of them darts 
upon it, and kills it in an instant, after which they divide the spoil. 

During spring and summer, the White-headed Eagle, to procure sus- 
tenance, follows a different course, and one much less suited to a bird 
apparently so well able to supply itself without interfering with other 
plunderers. No sooner does the Fish-Hawk make its appearance along 
our Atlantic shores, or ascend our numerous and large rivers, than the 
Eagle follows it, and, like a selfish oppressor, robs it of the hard-earned 
fruits of its labour. Perched on some tall summit, in view of the ocean, 
or of some water-course, he watches every motion of the Osprey while on 
wing. When the latter rises from the water, with a fish in its grasp, 
forth rushes the Eagle in pursuit. He mounts above the Fish-Hawk, 
and threatens it by actions well understood, when the latter, fearing per- 
haps that its life is in danger, drops its prey. In an instant, the Eagle, 
accurately estimating the rapid descent of the fish, closes his wings, fol- 


lows it with the swiftness of thought, and the next moment grasps it. 
The prize is carried off in silence to the woods, and assists in feeding the 
ever-hungry brood of the Eagle. 

This bird now and then procures fish himself, by pursuing them in 
the shallows of small creeks. I have witnessed several instances of this 
in the Perkioming Creek in Pennsylvania, where, in this manner, I saw 
one of them secure a number of Red-fins, by wading briskly through the 
water, and strildng at them with his bill. I have also observed a pair 
scrambling over the ice of a frozen pond, to get at some fish below, but 
without success. 

It does not confine itself to these kinds of food, but greedily devours 
young pigs, lambs, fawns, poultry, and the putrid flesh of carcasses of 
every description, driving off the vultures and carrion-crows, or the dogs, 
and keeping a whole party at defiance vmtil it is satiated. It frequently 
gives chase to the vultures, and forces them to disgorge the contents of 
their stomachs, when it alights and devours the filthy mass. A ludicrous 
instance of this took place near the city of Natchez, on the Mississippi. 
Many Vultures were engaged in devouring the body and entrails of a dead 
horse, when a White-headed Eagle accidentally passing by, the vultures 
all took to wing, one among the rest with a portion of the entrails partly 
swallowed, and the remaining part, about a yard in length, dangling 
in the air. The Eagle instantly marked him, and gave chase. The 
poor vulture tried in vain to disgorge, when the Eagle, coming up, seized 
the loose end of the gut, and dragged the bird along for twenty or 
thirty yards, much against its will, until both fell to the ground, when the 
Eagle struck the vulture, and in a few moments killed it, after which he 
swallowed the delicious morsel. 

I have heard of several attempts made by this bird to destroy chil- 
dren, but have never witnessed any myself, although I have httle doubt 
of its having sufficient daring to do so. 

The flight of the White-headed Eagle is strong, generally uniform, 
and protracted to any distance, at pleasure. Whilst travelling, it is en- 
tirely supported by equal easy flappings, without any intermission, in as 
far as I have observed it, by following it with the eye or the assistance of 
a glass. When looking for prey, it sails with extended wings, at right 
angles to its body, now and then allowing its legs to hang at their 
full length. W^hilst sailing, it has the power of ascending in circular 
sweeps, without a single flap of the wings, or any apparent motion either 



of them or of the tail ; and in this manner it often rises until it disappears 
from the view, the white tail remaining longer visible than the rest of the 
body. At other times, it rises only a few hundred feet in the air, and 
sails off in a direct line, and with rapidity. Again, when thus elevated, 
it partially closes its wings, and glides downwards for a considerable space, 
when, as if disappointed, it suddenly checks its career, and reassumes its 
former steady flight. When at an immense height, and as if observing 
an object on the ground, it closes its wings, and glides through the air 
with such rapidity as to cause a loud rustling sound, not unhke that pro- 
duced by a violent gust of wind passing am.ongst the branches of trees. 
Its fall towards the earth can scarcely be followed by the eye on such oc- 
casions, the more particularly that these falls or glidings through the air 
usually take place when they are least expected. 

This bird has the power of raising from the surface of the water any 

floating object not heavier than itself. In this manner it often robs the 

sportsman of ducks which have been killed by him. Its audacity is quite 

remarkable. While descending the Upper Mississippi, I observed one of 

these Eagles in pursuit of a Green- winged Teal. It came so near our 

boat, although several persons were looking on, that I could perceive the 

glancings of its eye. The Teal, on the point of being caught, when not 

more than fifteen or twenty yards from us, was saved from the grasp of 

its enemy, one of our party having brought the latter down by a shot, 

which broke one of its wings. When taken on board, it was fastened to 

the deck of our boat by means of a string, and was fed with pieces of 

cat-fish, some of which it began to eat on the third day of its confinement. 

But, as it became a very disagreeable and dangerous associate, trying on 

all occasions to strike at some one with its talons, it was killed and thrown 


When these birds are suddenly and unexpectedly approached or sur- 
prised, they exhibit a great degree of cowardice. They rise at once and 
fly off" very low, in zig-zag lines, to some distance, uttering a hissing noise, 
not at all like their usual disagreeable imitation of a laugh. When not 
carrying a gun, one may easily approach them ; but the use of that in- 
strument being to appearance well known to them, they are very cautious 
in allowing a person having one to get near them. Notwithstanding all 
their caution, however, many are shot by approaching them under cover 
of a tree, on horseback, or in a boat. They do not possess the power of 
smelling gunpowder, as the crow and the raven are absurdly supposed to 


do ; nor are they aware of the effects of spring-traps, as I have seen some 
of them caught by these instruments. Their sight, although probably 
as perfect as that of any bird, is much affected during a fall of snow, at 
which time they may be approached without difficulty. 

The White-headed Eagle seldom appears in very mountainous dis- 
tricts, but prefers the low lands of the sea-shores, those of our large lakes, 
and the borders of rivers. It is a constant resident in the United States, 
in every part of which it is to be seen. The roosts and breeding places 
of pigeons are resorted to by it, for the purpose of picking up the young- 
birds that happen to fall, or the old ones when wounded. It seldom, 
however, follows the flocks of these birds when on their migrations. 

When shot at and wounded, it tries to escape by long and quickly 
repeated leaps, and, if not closely pursued, soon conceals itself. Should 
it happen to fall on the water, it strikes powerfully with expanded wdngs, 
and in this manner often reaches the shore, when it is not more than 
twenty or thirty yards distant. It is capable of supporting life without 
food for a long period. I have heard of some, which, in a state of con- 
finement, had lived without much apparent distress for twenty days, al- 
though I cannot vouch for the truth of such statements, which, however, 
may be quite correct. They defend themselves in the manner usually 
followed by other Eagles and Hawks, throwing themselves backwards, and 
furiously striking with their talons at any object within reach, keeping 
their bill open, and turning their head with quickness to watch the move- 
ments of the enemy, their eyes being apparently more protruded than 
when unmolested. 

It is supposed that Eagles live to a very great age, — some persons 
have ventured to say even a hundred years. On this subject, I can only 
observe, that I once found one of these birds, which, on being killed, 
proved to be a female, and which, judging by its appearance, must have 
been very old. Its tail and wing-feathers were so worn out, and of such 
a rusty colour, that I imagined the bird had lost the power of moulting. 
The legs and feet were covered with large warts, the claws and bill were 
much blunted, it could scarcely fly more than a hundred yards at a time, 
and this it did with a heaviness and unsteadiness of motion such as I 
never witnessed in any other bird of the species. The body was poor and 
very tough. The eye was the only part which appeared to have sustained 
no injury. It remained sparkling and full of animation, and even after 


death seemed to have lost little of its lustre. No wounds were perceivable 
on its body. 

The White-headed Eagle is seldom seen alone, the mutual attachment 
which two individuals form Avhen they first pair seeming to continue un- 
til one of them dies or is destroyed. They hunt for the support of each 
other, and seldom feed apart, but usually drive oiF other birds of the same 
species. They commence their amatory intercourse at an earlier period 
than any other land bird with which I am acquainted, generally in the 
month of December. At this time, along the Mississippi, or by the mar- 
gin of some lake not far in the interior of the forest, the male and female 
birds are observed making a great bustle, flying about and circling in va^ 
rious ways, uttering a loud cackling noise, alighting on the dead branches 
of the tree on which their nest is already preparing, or in the act of being 
repaired, and caressing each other. In the beginning of January incu- 
bation commences. I shot a female, on the 17th of that month, as she 
sat on her eggs, in which the chicks had made considerable progress. 

The nest, which in some instances is of great size, is usually placed 
on a very tall tree, destitute of branches to a considerable height, but by 
no means always a dead one. It is never seen on rocks. It is composed 
of sticks, from three to five feet in length, large pieces of turf, rank weeds, 
and Spanish moss in abundance, whenever that substance happens to be 
near. When finished, it measures from five to six feet in diameter, and 
so great is the accumulation of materials, that it sometimes measures the 
same in depth, it being occupied for a great number of years in succes- 
sion, and receiving some augmentation each season. When placed in a 
naked tree, between the forks of the branches, it is conspicuously seen at 
a great distance. The eggs, which are from two to four, more commonly 
two or three, are of a dull white colour, and equally rounded at both 
ends, some of them being occasionally granulated. Incubation lasts for 
more than three weeks, but I have not been able to ascertain its precise 
duration, as I have observed the female on different occasions sit for a 
few days in the nest, before laying the first egg. Of this I assured my- 
self by climbing to the nest every day in succession, during her tempo- 
rary absence, — a rather perilous undertaking when the bird is sitting. 

I have seen the young birds when not larger than middle-sized pullets. 
At this time, they are covered with a soft cottony kind of down, their 
bill and legs appearing disproportionately large. Their first plumage is 
of a greyish colour, mixed with brown of different depths of tint, and be- 


fore the parents drive them off from the nest, they are fully fledged. As 
a figure of the Young White-headed Eagle will appear in the course of 
the pubhcation of my Illustrations, I shall not here trouble you with a 
description of its appearance. I once caught three young Eagles of this 
species, when fully fledged, by having the tree on which their nest was, 
cut down. It caused great trouble to secure them, as they could fly and 
scramble much faster than any of our party could run. They, however, 
gradually became fatigued, and at length were so exhausted as to ofi"er 
no resistance, when we were securing them with cords. This happened 
on the border of Lake Pontchartrain, in the month of April. The 
parents did not think fit to come within gun-shot of the tree while the 
axe was at work. 

The attachment of the parents to the young is very great, when the 
latter are yet of a small size ; and to ascend to the nest at this time would 
be dangerous. , But as the young advance, and, after being able to take 
wing and provide for themselves, are not disposed to fly oW, the old birds 
turn them out, and beat them away from them. They return to the nest, 
however, to roost, or sleep on the branches immediately near it, for several 
weeks after. They are fed most abundantly while under the care of the 
parents, which procure for them ample supplies of fish, either accidentally 
cast ashore, or taken from the Fish-Hawk, together with rabbits, squir- 
rels, young lambs, pigs, oppossums, or raccoons. Every thing that 
comes in the way is relished by the young family, as by the old birds. 

The young birds begin to breed the following spring, not always in pairs 
of the same age, as I have several times observed one of these birds in brown 
plumage mated with a fuU-coloured bird, which had the head and tail 
pure white. I once shot a pair of this kind, Avhen the brown bird (the 
young one) proved to be the female. 

This species requires at least four years before it attains the full 
beauty of its plumage when kept in confinement. I have known two in- 
stances in which the white of the head did not make its appearance until 
the sixth spring. It is impossible for me to say how much sooner this 
state of perfection is attained, when the bird is at full liberty, although I 
should suppose it to be at least one year, as the bird is capable of breed- 
ing the first spring after birth. 

The weight of Eagles of this species varies considerably. In the 
males, it is from six to eight pounds, and in the females from eight to 
twelve. These birds are so attached to particular districts, where they 


have first made their nest, that they seldom spend a night at any distance 
from the latter, and often resort to its immediate neighbourhood. Whilst 
asleep, they emit a loud hissing sort of snore, which is heard at the dis- 
tance of a hundred yards, when the weather is perfectly calm. Yet, so 
light is their sleep, that the cracking of a stick under the foot of a person 
immediately wakens them. When it is attempted to smoke them while 
thus roosted and asleep, they start up and sail off withovit uttering any 
sound, but return next evening to the same spot. 

Before steam-navigation commenced on our western rivers, these 
Eagles were extremely abundant there, particularly in the lower parts of 
the Ohio, the Mississippi, and the adjoining streams. I have seen hundreds 
going down from the mouth of the Ohio to New Orleans, when it was not 
at all difficult to shoot them. Now, however, their number is consider- 
ably diminished, the game on which they were in the habit of feeding, 
having been forced to seek refuge from the persecution of man farther in 
the wilderness. Many, however, are still observed on these rivers, parti- 
cularly along the shores of the Mississippi. 

In concluding this account of the White-headed Eagle, suffer me, 
kind reader, to say how much I grieve that it should have been selected 
as the Emblem of my Country. The opinion of our great Franklin on 
this subject, as it perfectly coincides with my own, I shall here present to 
you. " For my part," says he, in one of his letters, " I wish the Bald 
Eagle had not been chosen as the representative of our country. He is 
a bird of bad moral character ; he does not get his living honestly ; you 
may have seen him perched on some dead tree, where, too lazy to fish for 
himself, he watches the labour of the Fishing-Hawk ; and when that dili- 
gent bird has at length taken a fish, and is bearing it to his nest for the 
support of his mate and young ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him, and 
takes it from him. With all this injustice, he is never in good case, but, 
like those among men who live by sharping and robbing, he is generally 
poor, and often very lousy. Besides, he is a rank coward : the Httle 
King Bird, not bigger than a Sparrow, attacks him boldly, and drives 
him out of the district. He is, therefore, by no means a proper emblem 
for the brave and honest Cincinnati of America, who have driven all the 
King Birds from our counti'y ; though exactly fit for that order of 
knights which the French call Chevaliers dV7idustrie.'''' 

It is only necessary for me to add, that the name by which this bird 
is universally known in America is that of Bald Eagle, an erroneous de- 


nomination, as its head is as densely feathered as that of any other species, 
although its whiteness may have suggested the idea of its being bare. 

Falco leucocephalus, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. L p. Vi.\.-Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 1 1. 
Bald Eagle, Lalh. Synops. vol. i. p. 29. — Wilson, Americ. Oniith. vol. iv. p. 89. 

PI. 36. Adult. 
Sea Eagle, Falco Ossifragus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. vii. p. 16. PI. 55. fig. 2. 


Adult Male. Plate XXXI. 

Bill shortish, very deep, compressed ; upper mandible with the dorsal 
outhne at first straight, curved towards the tip, rounded above, sloping 
and flattish on the sides, nearly straight, with an obtuse process, in the 
acute, overlapping edges ; the tip deflected, trigonal, acute, at its lower 
part nearly perpendicular to the gap line ; lower mandible slightly con- 
vex in its dorsal outline, with inflected acute edges, which are arched to- 
ward the end, the tip broadly rounded. A naked cere, in the fore part 
of which are the oblong, oblique, nearly dorsal, open nostrils, which have 
a process from the anterior margin. Head rather large, flat above. Neck 
robust, rather short. Body ovate. Feet with the leg long, the tarsus 
short, feathered in its upper third, rounded, anteriorly covered with trans- 
verse scutella, posteriorly with large, laterally with small tuberculous 
scales ; toes robust, free, scutellate above, papillar and scabrous beneath, 
vdth large tubercles ; claws curved, rounded, marginate beneath, very 

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy ; feathers of the head, neck and 
breast, narrow and pointed ; of the back and breast acute, of the other 
parts broad and rounded. Space between the bill and eye barish, 
being sparsely covered with bristly feathers. Eyebrow bare and pro- 
jecting. Wings long, second quill longest, first considerably shorter. 
Tail of ordinary length, much rounded, extending considerably beyond 
the tips of the wings ; of twelve, broad, rounded feathers. 

BiU, cere, edge of eyebrow, iris, and feet, yellow ; claws bluish-black. 
The general colour of the plumage is deep chocolate, the head, neck, tail, 
abdomen, and upper and under tail-coverts, white. 

Length 34 inches, extent of wings 7 feet ; biU along the back 2| 
inches, along the under mandible 2|, in depth 1^^ '■> tarsus 3, middle 
toe 3^. 

( 170 ) 


PLATE XXXII. Male and Female. 

I HAVE not met with this species in the State of Louisiana more than 
half a dozen times ; nor indeed have I seen it at all in the Western States, 
excepting that of Ohio, where I have occasionally observed an individual, 
apparently out of its usual range. Some of these individuals were pro- 
bably bound for the Upper Lakes. The woody sides of the sea are the 
places to which this species usually resorts. It passes from the south 
early in March, and continues its route through Florida, Georgia, and all 
the other States verging on the Atlantic, beginning to rest and to breed 
in North CaroUna, and extending its travels to the Province of Maine. 

The flight of this species is swifter than that of its near relative, the 
Yellow-billed Cuckoo, for which bird it is easily mistaken by ordinary 
observers. It does not so much frequent the interior of woods, but ap- 
pears along their margins, on the edges of creeks and damp places. But 
the most remarkable distinction between this species and the Yellow-billed 
Cuckoo is, that the former, instead of feeding principally on insects and 
fruits, procures fresh-water shellfish and aquatic larvas for its sustenance. 
It is therefore more frequently seen on the ground, near the edges of the 
water, or descending along the drooping branches of trees to their extre- 
mities, to seize the insects in the water beneath them*. 

The nest of this bird is built in places similar to those chosen by the 
other species, and is formed of the same materials, arranged with quite as 
little art. The females lay from four to six eggs, of a greenish-blue, 
nearly equal at both ends, but rather smaller than those of the Yellow- 
billed Cuckoo. It retires southward fully a fortnight before the latter. 

It being so scarce a species in Louisiana, I have honoured it by plac- 
ing a pair on a branch of Magnolia in bloom, although the birds repre- 
sented were not shot on one of these trees, but in a swamp near some, 

• After the summer showers, the ground is seen covered with multitudes of very small 
frogs, of a brownish-black colour, which many of the inhabitants foolishly suppose to have 
descended from the clouds. Some of these I have occasionally found in the stomach of 
the Black-billed Cuckoo. 


where the birds were in pursuit of such flies as you see figured, probably 
to amuse themselves. The Magnolia has already been presented to 
your view in another plate, where it was figured in seed. Here you have 
it arrayed in all the beauty of its splendid blossoms. 

CoccYzusERYTHHOPHTHALMUs, Ch. BotMp. Sjnops. of Birds of United States, p. 42. 
Black-billed Cuckoo, Cuculus ekythkophthalma, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. iv. 
p. 15. PL xxviii. fig. 2. 

Adult Male. Plate XXXII. Fig 1. 

Bill as long as the head, compressed, slightly arched, acute, not more 
robust than that of many Sylvias ; upper mandible carinated above, its 
margins acute and entire ; lower mandible carinated beneath, acute. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, linear-elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Head 
and neck of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet short and small ; 
tarsus scutellate before and behind ; toes two before, separated ; two be- 
hind, one of which is versatile ; the sole flat ; claws slender, compressed, 

Plumage blended, soft, slightly glossed. Wings long, the first quill 
short, the third longest. Tail long, graduated, of ten feathers, which are 
rather narrow and rounded. 

Upper mandible brownish-black ; lower bluish. Iris hasel. A bare 
space of a deep scarlet tint around the eye. Feet dull blue. The gene- 
ral colour of the upper parts is light greenish-brown. Cheeks and fore- 
head tinged with greyish-blue. Tail-feathers, excepting the two middle 
ones, tipped with white. Under parts brownish-white. 

Length 11^ inches, extent of wings 15 ; beak along the ridge |^, 
along the gap 1;^. 

Adult Female. Plate XXXI L Fig. 2. 

The female differs very Uttle in external appearance from the male, 
and is nearly of the same dimensions. 

The Great MAGNOiiiA. 

Magnolia grandiflora, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 1255. 

This plant has already been described at p. 28, the ripe fruit having 
been represented in Plate V. 

( 172 ) 


Fringilla tristis, Linn. 

PLATE XXXIII. Male and Female. 

This species merely passes over the State of Louisiana in the begin- 
ning of January, and at that season is seen there for only a few days, 
alighting on the highest tops of trees near water-courses, in small groups 
of eight or ten, males and females together. They feed at that period on 
the opening buds of Maples, and others that are equally tender and juicy. 
In the month of November they are again seen moving southwards, and 
for a few days only. 

A few breed in Kentucky and the State of Ohio, but the Middle Dis- 
tricts are their principal places of resort during summer, although they 
extend their migrations to a high latitude. They arrive in the State of 
New York about the middle of April ; and as they become very abun- 
dant in that State during the summer, I shall describe their habits as ob- 
served there. 

The flight of the American Goldfinch is exactly similar to that of the 
European Bird of the same name, being performed in deep curved lines, al- 
ternately rising and falling, after each propeUing motion of the wings. It 
scarcely ever describes one of these curves without uttering two or three 
notes whilst ascending, such as its European relative uses on similar occa- 
sions. In this manner, its flight is prolonged to considerable distances, 
and it frequently moves in a circling direction before alighting. Their 
migration is performed during the day. They seldom alight on the 
ground, unless to procure water, in which they wash with great liveli- 
ness and pleasure, after which they pick vip some particles of gravel or 
sand. So fond of each other's company are they, that a party of them 
passing on the wing will alter its course at the calling of a single one 
perched on a tree. This call is uttered with much emphasis : the bird 
prolongs its usual note, without much alteration, and as the party ap- 
proaches, erects its body, and moves it to the right and left, as if turning 
on a pivot, apparently pleased at shewing the beauty of its plumage and 
the elegance of its manners. No sooner has the flock, previously on 
wing, alighted, than the whole party plume themselves, and then perform 


a little sweet concert. So much does the song of our Goldfinch resemble 
that of the European species, that whilst in France and England, I have 
frequently thought, and with pleasure thought, that they were the notes 
of our own bird which I heard. In America again, the song of the Gold- 
finch recalled to my remembrance its transatlantic kinsman, and brought 
with it too a grateful feeling for the many acts of hospitality and kind- 
ness which I have experienced in the " old country." 

The nest also is perfectly similar to that of the European bird, being 
externally composed of various lichens fastened together by saliva, and 
lined with the softest substances. It is small and extremely handsome, 
and is generally fixed on a branch of the Lombardy Poplar, being some- 
times secured to one side of a twig only. I have also found it in Alder 
bushes, a few feet above the ground, as well as in other trees. The fe- 
male deposits from four to six eggs, which are white, tinged with blush, 
and marked at the larger end with reddish-brown spots. They raise only 
one brood in a season. The young follow the parents for a long time, 
are fed from the mouth, as Canaries are, and are gradually taught to ma- 
nage this themselves. When it happens that the female is disturbed while 
on her nest, she glides off to a neighbouring tree, and calls for her mate, 
pivoting herself on her feet, as above described. The male approaches, 
passes and repasses on the wing at a respectful distance from the intruder, 
in deeper curves than usual, uttering its ordinary note, and when the un- 
welcome visitant has departed, flies with joy to his nest, accompanied by 
the female, who presently resumes her occupation. 

The food of the American Goldfinch consists chiefly of seeds of the 
Hemp, the Sun-flower, the Lettuce, and various species of Thistle. Now 
and then, during winter, it eats the fruit of the Elder. 

In ascending along the shores of the Mohawk river, in the month of 
August, I have met more of these pretty birds in the course of a day's 
walk than anywhere else ; and whenever a thistle was to be seen along 
either bank of the New York Canal, it was ornamented with one or more 
Goldfinches. They tear up the down and withered petals of the ripening 
flowers with ease, leaning downwards upon them, eat off the seed, and 
allow the down to float in the air. The remarkable plumage of the male, 
as well as its song, are at this season very agreeable ; and so familiar are 
these birds, that they suffer you to approach within a few yards, before 
they leave the plant on which they are seated. For a considerable space 
along the Gennessee river, the shores of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, and 


even Lake Superior, I have always seen many of them in the latter part 
of summer. They have then a decided preference for the vicinity of water. 

It is an extremely hardy bird, and often remains the whole winter in 
the Middle Districts, although never in great numbers. When deprived 
of liberty, it will live to a great age in a room or cage. I have known 
-two instances in which a bird of this species had been confined for up- 
wards of ten years. They were procured in the market of New York 
when in mature plumage, and had been caught in trap-cages. One of 
them having undergone the severe training, more frequently inflicted in 
Europe than America, and known in France by the name of gaUrien, 
would draw water for its drink from a glass, it having a little chain 
attached to a narrow belt of soft leather fastened round its body, and an- 
other equally light chain fastened to a little bucket, kept by its weight in 
the water, until the little fellow raised it up with its bill, placed a foot 
upon it, and pulled again at the chain until it reached the desired fluid 
and drank, when, on letting go, the bucket immediately fell into the glass 
below. In the same manner, it was obliged to draw towards its bill a lit- 
tle chariot filled with seeds ; and in this distressing occupation was doom- 
ed to toil through a life of solitary grief, separated from its companions, 
wantoning on the wildflowers, and procuring their food in the manner in 
which nature had taught them. After being caught in trap-cages, they 
feed as if quite contented ; but if it has been in spring that they have 
lost their liberty, and they have thus been deprived of the pleasures anti- 
cipated from the previous connexion of a mate, they linger for a few days 
and die. It is more difficult to procure a mule brood between our species 
and the Canary, than between the latter and the European Goldfinch, al- 
though I have known many instances in which the attempt was made 
with complete success. 

The young males do not appear in full plumage until the following 
spring. The old ones lose their beauty in winter, and assume the duUer 
tints of the female. In fact, at that season, young and old of both sexes 
resemble each other. 

;, There is a trait of sagacity in this bird and the Purple Finch {Frin- 
gilla purpurea), which is quite remarkable, and worthy of the notice of 
such naturalists as are fond of contrasting instinct with reason. When a 
Goldfinch alights on a twig imbued with bird-lime expressly for the pur- 
pose of securing it, it no sooner discovers the nature of the treacherous 
substance, than it throws itself backwards, with closed wings, and hangs 


in this position until the bird-lime has run out in the form of a slender 
thread considerably below the twig, when feeling a certain degree of se- 
curity, it beats its wings and flies oflP, with a resolution, doubtless, never 
to alight in such a place again ; as I have observed Goldfinches that had 
escaped from me in this manner, when about to alight on any twig, whe- 
ther smeared with bird-lime or not, flutter over it, as if to assure them- 
selves of its being safe for them to perch upon it. 

FniNGiLLA TRisTis, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 320 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 62. 

— Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 111. 
American Goldfinch, Fringilla tristis, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 288. — Wils. 

Anier. Ornith. vol. i. p. 20. PL 1. fig. 2. Adult Male in Summer.— CA. Bonaparte, 

Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 57- PI. 6. fig. 4. Female. 

Adult Male in spring. Plate XXXIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill rather short, conical, very acute ; upper mandible a Uttle broader 
than the lower, very slightly declinate at the tip, rounded on the sides, as 
is the lower, which has the edges inflected and acute ; the gap line straight, 
not extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by 
the feathers. Head rather large. Neck short. Body pretty full. Legs 
of moderate length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered 
anteriorly with a few longish scutella ; toes scuteUate above, free, the la- 
teral ones nearly equal ; claws very slender, much compressed, acute, and 
slightly arched, that of the hind toe not much larger. 

Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length, the third and 
fourth quills longest, the second nearly as long. Tail of ordinary length, 
forked, the lateral feathers curved outwards a little towards the tip. 

Bill and feet yellowish-brown. Iris dark brown. The general colour 
of the plumage is a rich lemon-yellow, fading posteriorly into yellowish- 
white. Fore and upper part of the head, wings, and tail, black ; quills 
externally margined, and the large coverts tipped, with yeUo wish-white ; 
inner webs of the tail white. 

Length 4^ inches, extent of wings 8 ; biU along the ridge ^, along the 
gap /j. 

Adult Female in spring. Plate XXXIII. Fig. 2. 
The female wants the black spot on the head, and in her the fine yel- 
low of the male is changed into brownish-olive, fading posteriorly intoyel- 


lowish-grey, the fore neck and breast greyish-yellow. The band formed 
by the tips of the large wing-coverts is dull white. 

Length and other dimensions nearly as in the male. 

The Common Thistle. 

Cnicus lanceolatus, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. iii. p. 1666. Pursh, Flora Amer. vol. ii. 
p. 506. Smith, Engl. Bot. vol. iii.p. 388. — Syngenesia Polygamia ^auALis, 
Linn. CinahocephaLjE, Jtiss. 

This well known species of Thistle, common in the temperate and cold- 
er parts of both continents, it is unnecessary to describe. 

. ( 177 ) 


Sylvia vermivora, Lath. 
PLATE XXXIV. Male and Female. 

The nest of this active little bird is formed of singular materials, 
being composed externally of dried mosses and the green blossoms of 
Hickories and Chestnut^trees, while the interior is prettily lined with fine 
fibrous roots, the whole apparently rather small for the size of the occu- 
pants. About the middle of May the female lays four or five eggs, 
which are cream-coloured, with a few dark red spots near the larger end, 
leaving a circular unspotted part at the extremity. The nest is usu- 
ally placed between two small twigs of a bush, not more than eight or 
nine feet from the ground, and sometimes only four or five. 

The flight of the Worm-eating Warbler resembles that of the Crested 
Titmouse, being of short duration, and accompanied with the same rust- 
ling noise, which is occasioned by the rather concave formation of their 


It merely passes through Louisiana in spring, appearing there as 

early as the beginning of April, and extends its migrations to the borders of 
liake Erie, where I shot several in autumn. It is probable that it pro- 
ceeds farther north. It returns through Louisiana about the end of Oc- 
tober, only remaining a few days on its passage. 

It is an inhabitant of the interior of the forests, and is seldom found 
on the borders of roads or in the fields. In spring they move in pairs, 
and, during their retrograde marches, in little groups, consisting each of 
a family, seven or eight in number ; on which accoimt I am inclined to 
believe that they raise only a single brood in the year. They are ever 
amongst the decayed branches of trees or other plants, such as are acci- 
dentally broken off by the wind, and are there seen searching for insects 
or caterpillars. They also resort to the ground, and turn over the dried 
leaves in quest of the same kind of food. They are unsuspecting, and 
will svifFer a person to approach within a few paces. When disturbed, 
they fly off to some place where withered leaves are seen. They have 
only a few weak notes, which do not deserve the name of song. Their 
industry, however, atones for this defect, as they are seen continually 



moving about, rustling among the leaves, and scarcely ever removing 
from one situation to another until after they have made a full inspection 
of the part in which they have been employed. 

This species reaches the Central Atlantic Districts in the middle of 
May, and breeds there, as well as farther northward. I have found them 
more numerous in the Jerseys than in any other portion of the Union. 
In Kentucky and Ohio I have seen only a few of them ; nor have I ever 
foimd their nests in either of these States. 

The plant on which you see a pair of Worm-eating Warblers is well 
known throughout the United States by the name of Poke-berry. It grows 
in every situation, from the tops of the most af id mountain-ridges to the 
lowest and richest valleys ; and it is almost impossible to follow a fence 
for a hundred yards without seeing some of it. Its berries are food 
for numerous species of our birds, and produce a beautiful dark 
crimson juice, which is used instead of red ink by some of the coun- 
try people, although it does not retain its original colour for many 
days. This plant grows to the height of four or six feet, and is eaten 
when it first shoots from the ground as a substitute for asparagus, quan- 
tities of it being not unfrequently exposed in the markets. The juice of 
the berries is taken in cases of ague and continued fever, but requires to 
be used with judgment, as too large a doze proves deleterious. 

Sylvia vermivora, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 544 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of 

Birds of the United States, p. 86. 
AVorm-Eating Warbler, Sylvia vermivoka, Wils. Americ. Ornith. voL iii. p. 74. 

vol. xxiv. fig. 4. 

Adult Male. Plate XXXIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill longish, nearly straight, rather strong, elongated-conical, as deep 
as broad at the base, with sharp, nearly straight edges. Nostrils basal, 
oval, half concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short. 
Body short and fuU. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus 
compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, acute behind, 
longer than the middle toe ; toes scutellate above, free ; claws arched, 
slender, compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft and tufty. Wings of ordinary length, con- 
siderably cvirved, the second quill longest, the first little shorter. Tail 
rather short, a little rounded, of twelve rather narrow, obtuse feathers. 


Bill blackish-brown above, greenish-grey beneath. Iris hazel. Feet 
flesh-colour. General colour of the upper parts deep green, tinged with 
brown. Head and lower parts light brownish-yellow, the former with 
four longitudinal black bands, of which one on each side proceeds from 
the middle of the upper mandible, the other from the inferior angle of its 
base. The lower part of the neck anteriorly, and the fore part of the 
breast are more yellow than the rest of the under parts ; the abdomen 
and under tail-coverts nearly white. 

Length 5J inches, extent of wings 8^ ; bill along the ridge -^^, along 
the gap I ; tarsus f , middle toe £. 

Adult Female. Plate XXXIV. Fig. 2. 

The female hardly differs from the male in external appearance. 

The American Poke-weed. 

PHYTOtACCA DECANDRA, Willd. Sp. PL voL i. p. 322. Pursh, FL Amer. vol. i. p. 324. 
— Decandria Decagyxia, i/«Vm. Atrivlices, Juss. 

This species is distinguished by its elliptico-lanceolate leaves, and de- 
candrous flowers, the other species differing in the number of stamina 
and one of them being dioecious. The berries, which are nearly globu- 
lar, are disposed in an elongated, pendulous raceme, and are of a purphsh- 
black colour. The flowers are white, their peduncles, partial and gene- 
ral, of a bright caniiine-purple colour. 

( 180 ) 


Sylvia CniLnnENii. 

PLATE XXXV. Male and Female. 

This little bird so much resembles the young of that called, I know 
not why, the Blue-eyed Yellow Warbler, that I was at first inclined to 
think it the same ; but, recollecting that the latter acquires the full co- 
louring of its plumage, in both sexes, before the return of spring, and 
finding some material differences in their habits, I have not hesitated in 
presenting it to you, kind reader, not only as a new species, but as one 
extremely rare in the United States. 

I shot two of these birds in May 18^1, near the town of Jackson, in 
the State of Louisiana. They were sitting amongst the stalks of the 
plant, on which they are represented. Their wings were constantly 
drooping by the sides of their body, their tail spread out like a fan, and 
they uttered a low tweet note, which was very soft and sweet. They now 
and then chased small insects on the wing, but more commonly searched 
for them amongst the leaves and blossoms of the plants on which they 
•were. After a few minutes, I discovered their nest, which contained five 
young ones nearly fledged. It was attached by the sides to two twigs of 
the plant, and was formed of the dried bark of the same plant, mixed 
-with skins of caterpillars and some silky substances. The lining consist- 
ed of goat's or deer hair, I think the former, as there were some tame 
goats in an adjoining pasture. I shot both the parents, and took the 
young under my care, but they would not receive any food, and died to- 
wards the end of the second day after their removal. I have never seen 
another of these birds since. 

The scarcity of this species in the United States putting me in mind 
of that of true friendship among men, I have named it after my most es- 
teemed friend, J. G. Children, Esq. of the British Museum, as a tri- 
bute of sincere gratitude for the unremitted kindness which he has shewn 

The plant is known by the name of the Wild Spanish Coffee. It 
grows very abundantly in almost every field in the Uplands of Lower 
Louisiana. The smell of its flowers, as well as of its leaves, is extremely 
disagreeable, if not nauseous. 


Childeen's Warbler, Sylvia Chilbrenii. 

Adult Male. Plate XXXV. Fig. 1. 

Bill longish, straight, subulato-conical, acute, the edges sharp, the 
gap line slightly deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, 
half closed by a membrane. Head and neck of ordinary size. Body ra- 
ther slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus longer than the 
middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few scutella, the uppermost long ; 
toes scutellate above, free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, 
compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the 
first quiU longest. Tail shortish, when closed nearly even. A few short 
bristles at the base of the upper mandible. 

Bill brown, lighter beneatli. Iris dark brown. Feet flesh-coloured. 
The general colour of the upper parts is yellowish-green, tinged with 
brown. Forehead, sides of the head, supra^ocular region, and under 
parts generally deep yellow. Quills dusky on the inner webs. Tail 
feathers dusky on the outer webs, yellow on the inner, excepting the two 
middle, which are dusky. 

Length 4| inches, extent of wings 7| ; bill along the ridge —, along 
the gap /g. 

Adult Female. Plate XXXV. Fig. 2. 

The female is considerably smaller. The distribution of its colour- 
ing is the same, but the tints are much lighter, the upper parts being 
pale yellowish-green tinged with grey ; the sides of the head, supra-ocular 
and frontal spaces pale yellowish-grey, and the under parts of a tint ap- 
proaching to lemon-yellow. 

The Wild Spanish Coffee. 

Cassia occidentalis, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 518. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. i. 
p. 305 — Decandria Monogynia, Linn, Leguminosje, Juss. 

This species is distinguished by its ovato-lanceolate, quinquejugate 
leaves, scabrous at the margin, the outer larger ; its many-flowered axil- 
lar and somewhat panicled peduncles ; and its linear, falciform legumes. 
It flowers thi-ough the summer, and grows chiefly in old fields, in the 
Southern States. 

( 182 ) 


The incidents that occur in the hfe of a student of nature, are not all 
of the agreeable kind, in proof of which, I shall present you, good reader, 
with an extract from one of my journals. 

My money was one day stolen from me by a person, who perhaps 
imagined that to a naturaUst it was of little importance. This happened 
on the shores of Upper Canada. The affair was as unexpected as it well 
could be, and as adroitly managed as if it had been planned and executed in 
Cheapside. To have repined when the thing could not be helped, would 
certes not have been acting manfully. I therefore told my companion 
to keep a good heart, for I felt satisfied that Providence had some re- 
lief in store for us. The whole amount of cash left with two individuals 
fifteen hundred miles from home, was just seven dollars and a-half. Our 
passage across the lake had fortunately been paid for. We embarked 
and soon got to the entrance of Presque Isle Harbour, but could not 
pass the bar, on account of a violent gale which came on as we approached 
it. The anchor was dropped, and we remained on board during the 
night, feeling at times very disagreeable, under the idea of having taken 
so little care of our money. How long we might have remained at 
anchor I cannot tell, had not that Providence, on whom I have never 
ceased to rely, come to our aid. Through some means to me quite un- 
known, Captain Judd of the United States Navy, then probably com- 
mandant at Presque Isle, sent a gig with six men to our relief. It was 
on the 29th of August 1824, and never shall I forget that morning. My 
drawings were put into the boat with the greatest care. We shifted into 
it, and seated ourselves according to directions politely given us. Our 
brave fellows puUed hard, and every moment brought us nearer to the 
American shore. I leaped upon it with elated heart. Mv drawings 
were safely landed, and for any thing else I cared little at the moment. 
I searched in vain for the officer of our navy, to whom I still feel grate- 
ful, and gave one of our dollars to the sailors to drink the " freedom of the 
waters ;" after which we betook ourselves to a humble inn to procure 
bread and milk, and consider how we were to proceed. 

Our plans were soon settledj for to proceed was decidedly the best. 
Our luggage was rather heavy, so we hired a cart to take it to Mead- 
ville, for which we offered five dollars. This sum was accepted, and we 


set off. The country through which we passed might have proved fa- 
vourable to our pursuits, had it not rained nearly the whole day. At 
night we alighted and put up at a house belonging to our conductor''s 
father. It was Sunday night. The good folks had not yet returned 
from a distant meeting-house, the grandmother of our driver being the 
only individual about the premises. We found her a cheerful dame, 
who bestirred herself as actively as age would permit, got up a blazing 
fire to dry our wet cloths, and put as much bread and milk on the table 
as might have sufficed for several besides ourselves. 

Being fatigued by the jolting of the cart, we asked for a place in 
which to rest, and were shewn into a room in which were several beds. 
We told the good woman that I should paint her portrait next morning 
for the sake of her children. My companion and myself were soon in 
bed, and soon asleep, in which state we should probably have remained 
till morning, had we not been awakened by a hght, which we found to 
be carried by three young damsels, who having observed where we lay, 
blew it out, and got into a bed opposite ours. As we had not spoken, it 
is probable the girls supposed us sound asleep, and we heard them say 
how delighted they would be to have their portraits taken, as well as 
that of their grandmother. My heart silently met their desire, and we 
fell asleep, without farther disturbance. In our back woods it is fre- 
quently the case that one room suffices for all the sleepers of a family. 

Day dawned, and as we were dressing we discovered that we were 
alone in the apartment, the good country girls having dressed in silence 
and left us before we had awakened. We joined the family and were 
kindly greeted. No sooner had I made known my intentions as to the 
portraits, than the young folks disappeared and soon after returned at- 
tired in their Sunday clothes. The black chalk was at work in a few 
minutes, to their great delight, and as the fumes of the breakfast that 
was meantime preparing reached my sensitive nose, I worked with re- 
doubled ardour. The sketches were soon finished, and soon too was the 
breakfast over. I played a few airs on my flageolet, while our guide was 
putting the horses to the cart, and by ten o'clock we were once more un- 
der way towards Meadville. Never shall I forget Maxon Ran dell and 
his hospitable family. My companion was as pleased as myself, and as 
the weather was now beautiful, we enjoyed our journey with all that hap- 
py thoughtlessness best suited to our character. The country now be- 
came covered with heavy timber, principally evergreens, the Pines and 


the Cucumber trees loaded with brilhant fruits, and the Spruces throwing 
a shade over the land in good keeping for a mellow picture. The late- 
ness of the crops was the only disagreeable circumstance that struck us ; 
hay was yet standing, probably, however, a second crop ; the peaches 
were quite small and green, and a few persons here and there, as we pas- 
sed the different farms, were reaping oats. At length we came in sight 
of French Creek, and soon after reached MeadviUe. Here we paid the 
five dollars promised to our conductor, who instantly faced about, and 
applying the whip to his nags, bade us adieu, and set off. 

We had now only a hundred and fifty cents. No time was to be lost. 
We put our baggage and ourselves under the roof of a tavern-keeper 
known by the name of J. E. Smith, at the sign of the Traveller's Rest, and 
soon after took a walk to survey the little village that was to be laid un- 
der contribution for our further support. Its appearance was rather 
dull ; but, thanks to God, I have never despaired while rambling thus 
for the sole purpose of admiring his grand and beautiful works. I had 
opened the case that contained my drawings, and putting my portfolio 
under my arm, and a few good credentials in my pocket, walked up 
Main Street, looking to the right and left, examining the different heads 
which occurred, until I fixed my eyes on a gentleman in a store who 
looked as if he might want a sketch. I begged him to allow me to sit 
down. This granted, I remained purposely silent until he very soon 
asked me what was " in that portfolio.'''' These three words sounded 
well, and without waiting another instant, I opened it to his view. This 
was a Hollander, who complimented me much on the execution of the 
' drawings of birds and flowers in my portfolio. Shewing him a sketch of 
the best friend I have in the world at present, I asked him if he would 
like one in the same style of himself. He not only answered in the af- 
firmative, but assured me that he would exert himself in procuring as 
many more customers as he could. I thanked him, be assured, kind 
reader ; and having fixed upon the next morning for drawing the sketch, 
I returned to the TraveUer''s Rest, with a hope that to-morrow might 
prove propitious. Supper was ready, and as in America we have gene- 
rally but one sort of Table cThote, we sat down, when, every individual 
looking upon me as a Missionary priest, on account of my hair, which in 
those days flowed loosely on my shoulders, I was asked to say grace, 
which I did with a fervent spirit. 

Daylight returned. I visited the groves and woods around, with my 


companion, returned, breakfasted, and went to the store, where, notwith- 
standing ray ardent desire to begin my task, it was ten o'clock before the 
sitter was ready. But, reader, allow me to describe the artisfs room. 
See me ascending a crazy flight of steps, from the back part of a store-room 
into a large garret extending over the store and counting room, and 
mark me looking round to see how the light could be stopped from ob- 
truding on me through no less than four windows facing each other at 
right angles. Then follow me scrutinizing the corners, and finding in 
one a cat nursing her young, among a heap of rags intended for the 
paper-mill. Two hogsheads filled with oats, a parcel of Dutch toys care- 
lessly thrown on the floor, a large drum and a bassoon in another part, 
fur caps hanging along the wall, and the portable bed of the merchant's 
clerk swinging like a hammock near the centre, together with some rolls 
of sole leather, made up the picture. I saw all this at a glance, and 
closing the extra windows with blankets, I soon procured a painter's light. 

A young gentleman sat, to try my skill. I finished his phiz, which 
was approved of. The merchant then took the chair, and I had the good 
fortune to please him also. The room became crowded with the gentry 
of the village. Some laughed, while others expressed their wonder ; but 
my work went on notwithstanding the observations that were made. My 
sitter invited me to spend the evening with him, which I did, and joined 
him in some music on the flute and violin. I returned to my companion 
with great pleasure; and you may judge how much that pleasure was in- 
creased, when I found that he also had made two sketches. Having 
written a page or two of our journals, we retired to rest. 

The following day was spent much in the same manner. I felt high- 
ly gratified that from under my grey coat my talents had made their way 
and I was pleased to discover that industry and moderate abilities prove 
at least as valuable as first-rate talents without the former of these qua- 
lities. We left Meadville on foot, having forwarded our baggage by 
waggon. Our hearts were light, ovir pockets replenished, and we walked 
in two days to Pittsburg, as happy as circumstances permitted us to be. 

( 1^^6 ) 


Falco Stan lei I. 

PLATE XXXVI. Male AND Female. 

Bhfore entering upon the description of this interesting species, al- 
low me to submit to your consideration a few observations respecting the 
flight of the different species of Hawks, which I have had occasion to exa- 
mine both in America and in Europe. 

All such species as are usually referred to the subgenus Astur, or are 
most nearly allied to it, and which consequently have shorter wings, as 
well as longer tails, than the true Falcons, sail less frequently and less 
continuously in circles, and embrace a smaller space in their gyrations, 
than the latter birds. Their general flight is low, sometimes only a few 
feet above the ground, and their velocity surpasses that of the true Fal- 
cons on such occasions. Their body is more compressed and elongated, 
and appears to be propelled through the air chiefly by the action of their 
long tail. None of these birds ever glide down on their prey from a great 
height, with closed wings, and the rustling noise produced by Eagles or 
other nobler tribes of the genus. The types of this group I would con- 
sider to be the Goshawk {Falco palumbarius) and the Stanley Hawk. 
For the type of the True Falcons, no species could answer better than the 
Great-footed Hawk {Falco peregrimis). 

A distinct and intermediate kind of flight belongs to such Hawks as 
have both a long tail and long wings. These species are able to dive 
through the air, either when in pursuit of their prey, or for amusement 
or exercise, although with less firmness of action than the True Falcons ; 
and they fly over the earth with less velocity than the Asturs, their motions 
then consisting of easy flappings, or loose protracted sailings. The Hen- 
harrier {Falco cyaneus), the Forked-tailed Hawk {Falco Jurcatus), and 
the White-tailed Hawk ( Falco dispar), are of this tribe. 

It may be remarked here, that most species of Shrikes bear a great re- 
semblance in their flight to the Asturs. But, let us return to the Stan- 
ley Hawk. 

On the 5th of December 1809, I made a drawing of the inale of this 
species^ in its matured state of colouring, at Louisville, in Kentucky, 


where 1 then resided. That drawing is now before me, and the bird which 
it represents is to this day undescribed. The figure would have been en- 
graved and presented to your consideration, kind reader, had it not been 
as stiff, and as little indicative of life, as those usually seen in books on 
Natural History. The expectation of being able to procure another in- 
dividual in precisely the same state of plumage, has, together with the 
above circumstance, induced me to content myself, for the present, with 
offering to your inspection a male, probably two years old, and an adult 
female. I have killed many of the latter in the course of my rambles, but 
I had not the good fortune to obtain an old male, although I have seen 
several on wing, and once wounded one whilst perched near its nest. In 
this article, I shall give you a full description of the three different figures, 
as they shew considerable diversity, especially in the colour of the eyes, 
the adult bird having the iris of a reddish-orange tint, while the young 
bird has it of a bright yellow. But as I am desirous of adhering to 
my plan, I shall speak of its habits before I trouble you with its de- 
scription, remarking in the mean time, that I have honoured the species 
with the name of the President of the Linnean Society of London, the 
Right Honourable Lord Stanley, a nobleman whose continued kindness 
to me I am happy in acknowledging. 

The flight of the Stanley Hawk is rapid, protracted, and even. It is 
performed at a short height above the ground or through the forest. It 
passes along in a silent gliding manner, with a swiftness even superior to 
that of the Wild Pigeon (Columba migratoria), seldom deviating from a 
straight-forward course, unless to seize and secure its prey. Now and 
then, but seldom unless after being shot at, it mounts in the air in circles, 
of which it describes five or six in a hurried manner, and again plunging 
downwards, continues its journey as before. 

The daring exploits performed by the Stanley HaAvk, which have tak- 
en place in my presence, are very numerous, and I shall relate one or two 
of them. This marauder frequently attacks birds far superior to itself in 
weight, and sometimes possessed of courage equal to its own. As I was 
one morning observing the motions of some Parakeets near Bayou Sara, 
in the State of Louisiana, in the month of November, I heard a Cock crow, 
ing not far from me, and in sight of a farm-house. The Stanley Hawk 
the next moment flew past me, and so close that I might have touched it 
with the barrel of my gun, had I been prepared. Its wings struck with 
extraordinary rapidity, and its tail appeared as if closed. Not more than 
a few seconds elapsed before I heard the cackling of the Hens, and the 


war-cry of the Cock, and at the same time observed the Hawk rising, as if 
without effort, a few yards in the air, and again falhng towards the ground 
with the rapidity of lightning. I proceeded to the spot, and found the 
Hawk grappled to the body of the Cock, both tumbling over and over, and 
paying no attention to me as I approached. Desirous of seeing the result, 
I remained still, until perceiving that the Hawk had given a fatal squeeze 
to the brave Cock, I ran to secure the former ; but the marauder had kept 
a hawk's eye upon me, and, disengaging himself, rose in the air in full 
confidence. The next moment I pulled a trigger, and he fell dead to the 
ground. It proved a young male, such as you see, kind reader, repre- 
sented in the Plate, pursuing a lovely Blue-bird nearly exhausted. The 
Cock was -also dead ; its breast was torn, and its neck pierced in several 
places by the sharp claws of the Hawk. 

Some years afterwards, not far from the amed Falls of Niagara, in the 
month of June, one of these Hawks, which on being examined proved to 
be a female, attacked a brood of young chickens, yet under the care of 
their mother. It had just struck one of the chickens, and was on the 
eve of carrying it off in its claws, when the hen, having perceived the 
murderous deed, flew against the Hawk with such force as to throw it 
fairly on its back, when the intrepid mother so effectively assailed the mis- 
creant with feet and bill, as to enable me, on running up, to secure the latter. 

This species frequently kills and eats the bird commonly called the 
Pheasant {Teti-ao Umbellus). Partridges and young hares are also fa- 
vourite dainties. It also follows the Wild Pigeons in their migrations, 
and always causes fear and confusion in their ranks. 

It breeds in the mountainous districts of the Middle and Northern 
States, to which it returns early in spring from the Southern States, where 
it spends the winter in considerable numbers, and is known by the name 
of the Great Pigeon Hawk. So rapidly must they travel from one extre- 
mity of the country to another, to reach the places to which they resort for 
the purpose of breeding, that I have seen them copulate in Louisiana, where 
they never breed, in the month of February, and have found their nest 
with eggs in which the chick was far advanced, in the State of Connecti- 
cut, on the 20th of April. 

The nest is usually placed in the forks of the branch of an Oak-tree 
towards its extremity. In its general appearance it resembles that of the 
Common Crow, for which I have several times mistaken it. It is com- 
posed externally of numerous crooked sticks, and has a slight lining of 
grasses and a few feathers. The eggs are three or four, almost globular, 


large for the size of the bird, of a duUish- white colour, strongly granulat- 
ed, and consequently rough to the touch. It was on discovering one of 
these nests that I wounded the second adult male which I have seen, but 
which never returned to its nest, on which I afterwards shot the female re- 
presented in the Plate, in the act of pouncing. I have several times found 
other nests of birds of this species, but the owners were not in full plumage, 
and their eyes had not obtained the rich orange colouring of the adult birds. 
Those wliich I have observed near the Falls of Niagara were generally 
engaged in pursuing Red-winged Starlings, over the marshes of the neigh- 
bovirhood. When tliis Hawk is angry, it raises the feathers of the upper 
part of the head, so as to make them appear partially tufted. The cry 
at this time may be represented by the syllable hee, kee, kee, repeated 
eight or ten times in rapid succession, and much resembling that of the 
Pigeon Hawk [Falco columbarius) or the European Kestril. The young 
of this species bear no resemblance to those of the Goshawk, of which a 
figure will be given in the same Plate with the adult of the Stanley Hawk. 

Stanley Hawk, Falco Stanleii. 

Adult Male. 

Bill short, robust, cerate ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline 
curved from the base, the back rounded, the sides sloping at the base, 
convex toward the end, the margin sharp, overlapping, having an obtuse 
lobe, the tip trigonal, very acute, and curved downwards ; lower mandi- 
ble broadly rounded on the back, convex on the sides, acute in the edges, 
somewhat abrupt at the end. Nostrils oval, oblique, in the fore-part of 
the cere. Head rather large, flat above ; eyebrow acute and projecting. 
Neck strong. Body rather elongated. Legs long ; tarsi rather long, 
and with the toes somewhat slender, the former scutellate anteriorly, the 
latter scutellate aljove, papillar and tuberculate beneath ; claws long, 
curved, roundish, rather slender, and extremely acute. 

Plumage compact, imbricated, glossy. Space between the beak and 
eye sparsely covered with bristly feathers. Tibial feathers rather com- 
pact, and not much elongated. Wings long: fifth quill longest, sixth 
and fourth nearly equal, first very short. Tail long, straight, a little 
rounded, of twelve rather broad feathers. 

Bill light blue at the base, black at the tip. Cere greenish-yellow. 
Iris redchsh-orange. Tarsus and toes bright yellow ; claws brownish- 


black. The general colour of the upper parts is dark greyish-brown. 
Quills barred with brownish-black. Tail with four bars of brownish- 
black, the terminal one broader ; the tips of all the feathers white. The 
general colour of the lower parts is brownish- white. Sides of the head 
and the throat longitudinally hned with dark brown; fore-neck and 
breast marked with arrow-shaped spots of brownish-red, the shafts black- 
ish. Legs similarly marked, the spots smaller, and transversely elon- 
gated. Abdomen and under tail-coverts nearly free of spots. 

Length 20 inches, extent of wings 36; beak along the back 1|, 
along the gap from the tip of the lower mandible 1 1 ; tarsus 2|, middle 
toe 2^. Wings 4j inches shorter than the tail. 

Adult Female. Plate XXXVI. Fig. 2. 

Bill brownish-black above ; the base of the upper mandible, and the 
greater part of the lower, light blue. Cere greenish. Iris yellow. Feet 
greenish-yellow ; claws brownish-black. Head and neck brownish- white, 
each feather with a large reddish-brown spot near the end. General 
colour of the upper parts chocolate-brown ; quills and tail wood-brown, 
barred as in the male. Under parts brownish-white. Throat and sides 
of the head marked as in the male ; breast with guttiform spots of deep 
browns legs with smaller, somewhat arrow-shaped spots of reddish- 
brown. Abdomen and under tail-coverts whitish. 

Length 21^ inches, extent of wings 38; bill along the back 1|, 
along the gap 1^; tarsus 3, middle toe 2f. Wings 5 inches shorter 
than the tail. 

Young Male. Plate XXXVI. Fig. 1. 

Bill and feet coloured nearly as in the adult. Iris yellow, as in the 
female. The general colour of the upper parts is dark umber ; several of 
the scapulars, wing-coverts and vipper tail-coverts with a large spot of 
white. Quills and tail-feathers barred as in the adult, the last bar on 
the tail much narrower. Under parts light reddish-brown. Sides of the 
head, and the neck longitudinally streaked with deep brown ; the mark- 
ings on the breast and legs also longitudinal. 

Length 191, extent of wings 34; beak li ; wings 5^ inches shorter 
than the tail. 

The bird represented as about to be seized by the male is the Blue- 
bird, Saocicola Sialis of Bonaparte, Sylvia Sial'ts of other authors. 

( 191 ) 


PLATE XXXVII. Male and Female. 

It is generally agreeable to be in the company of individuals who 
are naturally animated and pleasant. For this reason, nothing can be 
more gratifying than the society of Woodpeckers in the forests. To 
prove this to you, kind reader, I shall give you a full account of the 
habits of the Golden- winged Woodpecker. 

This species, which is usually called Pique-hois jaune by the French 
settlers in Louisiana, and receives the name of High-holder, Yucker, and 
Flicker in other parts of the Union, being seldom or never graced with 
the epithet Golden-zoinged, employed by naturalists, is one of the most 
lively of our birds, and is found over the whole of the United States. 

No sooner has spring called them to the pleasant duty of making 
love, as it is called, than their voice, which, by the way, is not at all dis- 
agreeable to the ear of man, is heard from the tops of high decayed 
trees, proclaiming with delight the opening of the welcome season. Their 
note at this period is merriment itself, as it imitates a prolonged and jo- 
vial laugh, heard at a considerable distance. Several males pursue a 
female, reach her, and, to prove the force and truth of their love, bow 
their heads, spread their tail, and move sidewise, backwards and for- 
wards, performing such antics, as might induce any one witnessing them, 
if not of a most morose temper, to join his laugh to theirs. The female 
flies to another tree, where she is closely followed by one, two, or even 
half a dozen of these gay suitors, and where again the same ceremonies 
are gone through. No fightings occur, no jealousies seem to exist among 
these beaux, until a marked preference is shewn to some individual, when 
the rejected proceed in search of another female. In this manner all the 
Golden- winged Woodpeckers are soon happily mated. Each pair imme- 
diately proceed to excavate the trunk of a tree, and finish a hole in it 
sufficient to contain themselves and their young. They both work with 
great industry and apparent pleasure. Should the male, for instance, be 
employed, the female is close to him, and congratulates him on the re- 
moval of every chip which his bill sends through the air. While he rests. 


he appears to be speaking to her on the most tender subjects, and when 
fatigued, is at once assisted by her. In this manner, by the alternate 
exertions of each, the hole is dug and finished. They caress each other 
on the branches, climb about and around the tree with apparent delight, 
rattle with their bill against the tops of the dead branches, chase all their 
cousins the Red-heads, defy the Purple Grakles to enter their nest, feed 
plentifully on ants, beetles and larvae, cackling at intervals, and ere two 
weeks have elapsed, the female lays either four or six eggs, the whiteness 
and transparency of which are doubtless the delight of her heart. If to 
raise a numerous progeny may contribute to happiness, these Wood- 
peckers are in this respect happy enough, for they have two broods each 
season ; and as this might induce you to imagine Woodpeckers extremely 
abundant in America, I may at once tell you that they are so. 

Even in confinement, the Golden-winged Woodpecker never suffers 
its naturally lively spirit to droop. It feeds well, and by way of amuse- 
ment, will continue to destroy as much furniture in a day as can well be 
mended by a different kind of workman in two. Therefore, kind reader, 
do not any longer believe that Woodpeckers, I mean those of America, 
are such stupid, forlorn, dejected and unprovided for beings, as they 
have hitherto been represented. In fact, I know not one of the seventeen 
species found in our extensive woods, that does not exhibit quite as much 
mirth and gaiety as the present bird. They are serviceable birds in 
many points of view, and therefore are seldom shot at, unless by idlers, 
their flesh, moreover, not being very savoury. They have ample range, 
and wherever they alight, there is to be found the food to which they at 
all times give decided preference. 

The flight of this species is strong and prolonged, being performed 
in a straighter manner than that of any other of our Woodpeckers. They 
propel themselves by numerous beats of the wings, with short intervals 
of sailing, during which they scarcely fall from the horizontal. Their 
migrations, although partial, as many remain even in the middle districts 
during the severest winters, are performed under night, as is known by their 
note and the whistling of their wings, which are heard from the ground, 
although by no means so distinctly as when they fly from a tree or from 
the earth, when suddenly alarmed. When passing from one tree to ano- 
ther on wing, they also fly in a straight Une, until within a few yards of 
the spot on which they intend to alight, when they suddenly raise them- 
selves a few feet, and fasten themselves to the bark of the trunk by their 


claws and tail. If they intend to settle on a branch, which they as fre- 
quently do, they do not previously rise ; but in either case, no sooner has 
the bird alighted, if it be not pursued or have suspicions of any object 
about it, than it immediately nods its head, and vitters its well-known 
note, " Flicker?'' It easily moves sidewise on a small branch, keeping 
itself as erect as other birds usually do ; but with equal ease does it 
climb by leaps along the trunk of trees or. their branches, descend, and 
move sidewise or spirally, keeping at all times its head upwards, and its 
tail pressed against the bark as a support. 

On the ground, where itfrequently alights, ithops with great ease. This, 
however, it does merely to pick up a beetle, a caterpillar, a grain of com 
dropt by a squirrel from the ear in the fields, or to enable it to examine 
the dead roots of trees, or the side of a prostrate log, from which it pro- 
cures ants and other small insects. It is also fond of various fruits and 
berries. Apples, grapes, persimons and dogwood berries seem quite 
agreeable to it, and it does not neglect the young corn of the farmer's 
field. Even poke-berries or huckleberries answer its purpose at times, 
and during winter it is a frequenter of the corn-cribs. 

In this species, as in a few others, there is a singular arrangement in 
the colouring of the feathers of the upper part of the head, which I con- 
ceive it necessary for me to state, that it may enable persons better quali- 
fied than myself to decide as to the reasons of such arrangement. The 
young of this species frequently have the whole upper part of the head 
tinged with red, which at the approach of winter disappears, when mere- 
ly a circular line of that colour is to be observed on the hind part, be- 
coming of a rich silky vermilion tint. The Hairy, Downy and Red- 
cockaded Woodpeckers are subject to the same extraordinary changes, 
which, as far as I know, never reappear at any future period of their 
lives. I was at first of opinion that this change appeared only on 
the head of the male birds, but on dissection I found it equally affect- 
ing both sexes. I am induced to believe, that, in consequence of this, 
many young Woodpeckers of diff^erent species have been described and 
figured as forming distinct species themselves. I have shot dozens of 
young Woodpeckers in this peculiar state of plumage, which, on being- 
shewn to other persons, were thought by thein to be of different species 
from what the birds actually were. This occurrence is the more worthy 
of notice, as it is exhibited on all the species of this genus on the heads 
of which, when in full plumage, a very narrow line exists. 


Raccoons and Black Snakes are dangerous enemies to this bird. The 
former frequently put one of their fore legs into the hole where it has 
nestled or retired to rest, and if the hole be not too deep, draw out the 
eggs and suck them, " and frequently by the same means secure the bird 
itself. The Black Snake contents itself with the eggs or young. Seve- 
ral species of Hawks attack them on the wing, and as the Woodpeckers 
generally escape by making for a hole in the nearest tree, it is pleasing to 
see the disappointment of the Hawk, when, as it has just been on the point 
of seizing the terrified bird, the latter dives, as it were, into the hole. 
Should the Woodpecker not know of a hole near enough to afford it se- 
curity, it alights on a trunk, and moves round it with such celerity as 
frequently to enable it to elude its pursuer. 

Their flesh is esteemed good by many of the sportsmen of the Middle 
Districts, and is frequently eaten. Some are now and then exposed in 
the markets of New York and Philadelphia ; but I look upon the flesh as 
very disagreeable, it having a strong flavour of ants. 

The neck of this species is larger than that of any other with which 
I am acquainted, and consequently the skin of this bird is more easily 
pulled over the head, which it is difficult to do in the other species, on 
account of the slenderness of their neck, and the great size of the head. 

Pic us ad rat us, Limi. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 174 Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 242. — 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 44. 

Goi.D-wiNGED Woodpecker Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 597 Wils. Americ. Ornith. 

vol. ii. p. 45. PI. iii. fig. 1. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate XXXVII. Fig.l, 1, 1. 

Bill slightly arched, strong, nearly as long as the head, compressed 
at the tip, which is a Httle abrupt ; upper mandible convex on the sides, 
with acute, overlapping edges ; lower mandible with acute, inflected edges, 
the dorsal outline nearly straight, a little convex towards the end. Nos- 
trils basal, lateral, oval, partly covered by recumbent feathers. Head of 
ordinary size. Neck shortish. Body ovate. Feet short, rather robust ; 
tarsus scutellate before, compressed ; two toes before, and two behind, 
scutellate above ; claws compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage rather compact and imbricated, blended on the head and neck. 
Wings longish, the third and fourth quills longest, the second much shorter, 
the first very small. Tail of ordinary length, rounded, consisting of ten 


broad feathers, worn to an elongated tip by being rubbed against the bark 
of trees. 

Bill brown above and at the tip, light blue beneath. Iris light brown. 
Feet greyish-blue. Upper part of the head and hind neck light purplish- 
grey ; a transverse band of scarlet on the lower part of the occiput. Up- 
per parts generally light greenish-brown, spotted with black ; the lower 
back white, the tail-coverts of the same colour, spotted with black. Pri- 
maries brownish-black, their shafts, as are those of all the large feathers, 
orange. Tail brownish-black. Sides of the head and fore neck light 
brownish-red, tinged with grey. A black streak along each side of the 
throat, and a lunated patch of the same across the fore part of the breast. 
The rest of the breast reddish- white, spotted with black, as are the lighter 
coloured abdomen and under tail-coverts. Under surface of the wings 
and tail of a fine rich yellow. 

Length IH^ inches, extent of wings 16; bill along the 'ridge 1|^, along 
the gap If ; tarsus 1|, middle toe I5. 

Adult Female. Plate XXXVII. Fig. 2, 2. 

The female differs chiefly in wanting the black streaks on the throat, 
in having the lunulated spot on the breast smaller, and in being some- 
what duller in the tints of the plumage generally. 

Dimensions nearly the same. 

N 2 

( 196 ) 


Sylvia Formosa, Wils. 

PLATE XXXVIII. Male and Female. 

This beautiful species is the most common and abundant that visits 
the State of Louisiana and those situated on the borders of the Missis- 
sippi. In Kentucky it is much less common, and in the State of Ohio 
scarcer still. It is an extremely active and lively bird. It is found in 
all the low grounds and damp places near water-courses, and generally 
among the tall rank weeds and low bushes growing in rich alluvial soil. 
Continually in motion, it is seen hopping in every direction from stalk to 
stalk, or from one twig to another, preying upon insects and larvae, or 
picking small berries, seldom, however, pursuing insects on wing. Du- 
ring spring, its agreeable notes are heard in every quarter. They are 
emphatic, and resemble the words tweedle, tz&eedle, tioeedle, distinctly re- 
peated. This little bird is seen at intervals of a few minutes on the skirts 
of the tail plants, peeping cunningly to discover whether any intruders 
may be near ; after which it immediately re-enters the thicket, and repeats 
its little ditty. 

I never saw this bird fly farther than a few yards at a time Its 
flight is low, and performed in a quick gliding manner, the bird throwing 
itself into the nearest bush or thicket of tall grass. It arrives in the 
Southern States, from Mexico, about the middle of March, and remains 
with us until the middle of September, during which time it rears two 
broods. Its nest is small, beautifully constructed, and usually attached 
to several stems of rank weeds. The outer parts are formed of the bark 
of stalks of the same weeds in a withered state, mixed with a finer kind 
and some cottony substances. It is beautifully lined with the cottony or 
silky substance that falls from the Cotton- wood tree. The eggs are from 
four to six, of a pure white colour, finely sprinkled with bright red dots. 

This species destroys great numbers of spiders, which it frequently 
obtains by turning over the withered leaves on the ground. The young 
males do not attain the full beauty of their plumage until the first spring, 
and resemble the mother during their stay with us the first season 


Young and old associate together, and live in great harmony. I have 
not seen this species farther eastward than North Carolina. 

The branch on which two of these birds are represented, is that of the 
tree commonly called the White Cucumber, a species of Magnolia. It 
flowers as early in the season as the Dog- wood. The flowers open before 
the leaves are expanded, and emit an odour resembling that of a lemon, 
but soon becoming disagreeable, as the blossom fades. This tree seldom 
grows to the height of thirty feet, and is consequently disregarded as a 
timber-tree. I have met with it only in the States of Mississippi and 
Louisiana, where it grows on the grounds preferred by the Kentucky 
Warbler during its stay in those States. 

Kentucky Warbler, Sylvia Formosa, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. iii. p. 85. Pl.xxv. 

Fig. 3. 
Sylvia Formosa, CA. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 34 

Adult Male. Plate XXXVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, the 
edges acute, the gap line a little deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, 
lateral, elliptical, half closed by a membrane. Head and neck of ordinary 
size. Body rather full. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus longer 
than the middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few scutella, the uppermost 
long ; toes scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; 
claws slender, compressed, acute, arched. 

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the 
second quill longest. Tail of ordinary length, slightly forked when closed. 

BiU brownish-black above, lighter beneath. Iris hazel. Feet pale 
flesh-colour. The general colour of the plumage above is deep yellowish- 
green, the crown of the head, and a broad patch under the eye, includ- 
ing the lore, black. Under parts, and a broad streak over the eye, bright 
yeUow, tinged with green on the sides, abdomen, and under tail-coverts. 
Wings and tail yellowish-green, the inner webs only being dusky. Some 
spots of bluish-grey on the occiput. 

Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge y 2 1 along the 
gap ^ ; tarsus {^, middle toe f . 

Adult Female. Plate XXXVIII. Fig. 2. 


The female resembles the male, but wants the black band under the 
eye, and has the black of the head less extended backwards. The tints 
of the plumage generally are also hghter. 

Dimensions nearly the same. 

Magnolia auriculata, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 1268. Pursh. Flor. Amer. vol. ii. 

p. 482. Mich. Arbr. Forest, de I'Amer. Septentr. vol. iii. p. 94. PL 7. Polyan- 

DB.IA PoLYGYNiA, Linn. MagnolIjE, Juss. 

This species, which is remarkable for the beauty of its foliage, is known 
in America by the names of White Cucumber Tree, Long-leaved Cucum- 
ber Tree, and Indian Physic. The latter name it has obtained from the 
circumstance of its bark being used in intermittent fevers. It is characte- 
rized by its rhomboido-oboval acute leaves, which are narrowed and 
two-lobed at the base ; and its ovate acute petals. The flowers are 

( 195> ) 


Parus Bicor.OR, Linn. 
PLATE XXXIX. Male and Female. 

Although this smart little bird breeds in the State of Louisiana and 
the adjacent districts, it is not there found in so great numbers as in the 
Middle States, and farther to the northward. It generally prefers the 
depth of the forests during summer, after which it approaches the plan- 
tations, and even resorts to the granaries for corn. 

Its flight is short, the bird being seldom seen on the wing long 
enough to cross a field of moderate extent. It is performed by repeated 
flaps of the wings, accompanied by jerks of the body and tail, and occa- 
sions a rustling noise, as it takes place from one tree to another. It 
moves along the branches, searches in the chinks, flies to the end of twigs 
and hangs to them by its feet, whilst the bill is engaged in detaching a 
beech or hazel nut, an acorn or a chinquapin, upon all of which it 
feeds, removing them to a large branch, where, having secured them in 
a crevice, it holds them with both feet, and breaks the shell by repeated 
blows of its bill. They are to be seen thus employed for many minutes 
at a time. They move about in httle companies formed of the parents 
and their young, eight or ten together, and escorted by the Nuthatch or 
the Downy Woodpecker. It is pleasing to listen to the sound produced 
by their labour, which in a calm day may be heard at the distance of 
twenty or thirty yards. If a nut or an acorn is accidentally dropped, 
the bird flies to the ground, picks it up, and again returns to a branch. 
They also alight on the ground or on dry leaves, to look for food, after 
the trees become bare, and hop about with great nimbleness, going to the 
margins of the brooks to drink, and when unable to do so, obtaining wa- 
ter by stooping from the extremity of a twig hanging over the stream. 
In fact, they appear to prefer this latter method, and are also fond of 
drinking the drops of rain or dew as they hang at the extremities of the 

Their notes are rather musical than otherwise, the usual one bemg 
loud and meUow. They do not use the tee-tee-tee of their relative the 
Black-capped Titmouse, half so often as the latter does, but emit a con- 


siderable variety of sounds, many of which, if the bird from which they 
come does not happen to be known to the listener, are apt to induce dis- 
appointment in him, when on going up he finds it to be very different from 
what he expected. These sounds sometimes resemble a whistle, at an- 
other time a loud murmur, and seem as if proceeding from a bird at a 
much greater distance. 

The crest of tliis species, which is generally erect, is a great improve- 
ment to its general appearance, the tints of the plumage being, as you 
perceive, kind reader, none of the most brilliant. The Crested Titmouse 
is of a rather vicious disposition, which sometimes prompts it to attack 
smaller birds, and destroy them by thumping their heads with its bill un- 
til it breaks the skull. 

This species sometimes forms a nest by digging a hole for the pur- 
pose in the hardest wood, with great industry and perseverance, although 
it is more frequently contented with the hole of the Downy Woodpecker, 
or some other small bird of that genus. It fills the hole with every kind 
of warm materials, after which the female deposits from six to eight eggs, 
of a pure white, with a few red spots at the larger end. The eggs are 
laid about the beginning of April in the Southern States, and nearly a 
month later in the Middle Districts. As soon as the young are able to 
leave the nest, they are seen following the parent birds, and continue 
with them until the next spring, 

I have met with this species in all parts of the United States which I 
have visited ; and as my rambles have been extended over a very large 
portion of that country, I am surprised that I have not met with more 
than two species of Titmice, although I am of opinion that several others 
will yet be discovered. 

The species of Pine, on a twig of which you see a pair these birds, is 
the White Pine (Pinus Strohus), a tree of great beauty, of which indivi- 
duals have been observed of the enormous height of 180 feet, with a dia- 
meter at the base of from six to eight feet. The trunk is branchless for 
two-thirds of its height, and affords the most valuable wood perhaps of 
any tree in the United States. 

Parus bicolor, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 544 Lath. Ind. Omith. vol. ii. p. 56?. 

—Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 100. 
Crested Titmouse, Parus bicolor, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 137, PI- 8. fig. 5. 
TouPET Titmouse, Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 544. 


Adult Male. Plate XXXIX. Fig 1. 

Bill short, straight, rather robust, compressed, acute ; both mandi- 
bles, with the dorsal outline arched, the upper slightly declinate at the 
tip. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the recumbent feathers. 
Head large. Neck and body robust. Feet of ordinary length, rather 
robust ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, a little longer than the 
middle toe ; outer toe slightly united at the base, hind one much stronger ; 
claws rather large, much compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage blended, tufty ; feathers of the upper part of the head elon- 
gated into a crest. Wings of moderate length, the second, third, and 
fourth quills nearly equal and longest. Tail long, even, of ten rather 
narrow, rounded feathers. 

BiU black. Iris dark brown. Feet lead-colour. The general co- 
lour of the upper parts is a dull leaden blue ; the forehead black ; sides 
of the head lighter, and tinged with brown. Under parts greyish-white, 
sides tinged with yellowish-brown. 

Length 6^ inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill along the ridge ^, along 
the gap 5 ; tarsus y^, middle toe f . 

Adult Female. Plate XXXIX. Fig. 2. 

The female hardly differs from the male in external appearance, be- 
ing equally crested, and having the same tints. 

The White Pine. 

PiNUS Sthobus, Willd. Sp. Plant, vol. iv. p. 501. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 644. 
Mich. Arb. Forest, de TAmer. Sept. vol. L p. 104. PL x.— MoNfficiA Mona- 
DELPHIA, Linn. ConiferjE, Juss. 

This species, which is a true Pine, has the leaves very slender, five 
together, with very short sheaths, and is further characterized by its cy- 
lindrical, pendulous cones, which are longer than the leaves, and have 
their scales lax. It grows in rich soil, in all parts of the United States 
from Canada to Virginia, and affords the best timber for masts, as well 
as for other purposes. In Britain, where it has long been planted, it is 
generally known by the name of Weymouth Pine, or Lord Weymouth's 
Pine, from the name of the nobleman who introduced it. 

( 202 ) 

PLATE XL. Male and Female. 

This is one of the most lively, as well as one of the handsomest, of our 
Fly-catchers, and ornaments our woods during spring and summer, when 
it cannot fail to attract the attention of any person who may visit the in- 
terior of the shady forests. It is to be met with over the whole of the 
United States, where it arrives, according to the different localities, be- 
tween the beginning of March and the 1st of May. It takes its depart- 
ure, on its way southward, ^ate in September, and in the beginning of 

It keeps in perpetual motion, hunting along the branches sidewise, 
jumping to either side in search of insects and larvae, opening its beautiful 
tail at every movement which it makes, then closing it, and flirting it from 
side to side, just allowing the transparent beauty of the feathers to be 
seen for a moment. The wings are observed gently drooping during 
these motions, and its pleasing notes, which resemble the sounds of Tetee- 
whee, Tetee-whee, are then emitted. Should it observe an insect on the 
wing, it immediately flies in pursuit of it, either mounts into the air in 
its wake, or comes towards the ground spirally and in many zig-zags. 
The insect secured, the lovely Redstart reascends, perches, and sings a 
different note, equally clear, and which may be expressed by the syllables 
wizzy wizz, wizz. While following insects on the wing, it keeps its 
bin constantly open, snapping as if it procured several of them on the 
same excursion. It is frequently observed balancing itself in the air, 
opposite the extremity of a bunch of leaves, and darting into the midst 
of them after the insects there concealed. 

When one approaches the nest of this species, the male exhibits the 
greatest anxiety respecting its safety, passes and repasses, fluttering and 
snapping its bill within a few feet, as if determined to repel the intruder. 
They now and then alight on the ground, to secure an insect, but this 
only for a moment. They are more frequently seen climbing along the 
trunks and large branches of trees for an instant, and then shifting to a 
branch, being, as I have said, in perpetual motion. It is also fond of 


giving chase to various birds, snapping at them without any effect, as if 
solely for the purpose of keeping up the natural liveliness of its disposi- 

The young males of this species do not possess the brilliancy and 
richness of plumage which the old birds display, until the second year, 
the first being spent in the garb worn by the females ; but, towards the 
second autumn, appear mottled with pure black and vermilion on their 
sides. Notwithstanding their want of full plumage, they breed and sing 
the first spring like the old males. 

I have looked for several minutes at a time on the ineffectual attacks 
which this bird makes on wasps while busily occupied about their own 
nests. The bird approaches and snaps at them, but in vain ; for the 
wasp elevating its abdomen, protrudes its sting, which prevents its being 
seized. The male bird is represented in the plate in this posture. 

Its nest is generally made on a low bush or sapling, and has the ap- 
pearance of hanging to the twigs. It is slight, and is composed of 
lichens and dried fibres of rank weeds or grape vines, nicely hned with 
soft cottony materials. The female lays from four to six white eggs, 
sprinkled with ash-grey and blackish dots. It rears only a single brood 
in a season. The old birds, I am inclined to think, leave the United 
States a month or three weeks before the young, some of which linger in 
the deep swamps of the States of Mississippi and Louisiana until the 
beginning of November. 

MusciCAPA RuTiciLLA, Linn, Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 236— Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. 

p. 473.^CA. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 68. 
American Redstart, Muscicapa Ruticilla, TVils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 103, 

PL vi. fig. 6. adult male; vol. v. p. 119. PL 45, fig. 2, young. — Lath. Synops. 

voL iv. p. 427- 

Adult Male. Plate XL. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, depressed at the base, compressed toward the 
tip, acute ; upper mandible sHghtly notched, and deflected at the tip ; 
lower straight. Nostrils basal, lateral, linear. Head and neck of mode- 
rate size. Body rather slender. Feet moderately long, slender ; tarsus 
covered with short scutella before, with a longitudinal keeled plate be- 
hind, longer than the middle toe ; toes slender, free ; claws small, weak, 
slightly arched, compressed, acute. 


plumage blended, soft, glossy. The bill margined at the base with 
long spreading bristles. Wings of moderate length, third quill longest, 
second and first little shorter. Tail rather long, rounded. 

Bill brownish-black. Iris dark brown. Feet blackish. Head, neck, 
fore part of the breast, and upper parts, black, the head, neck, and back 
glossed with blue. Sides of the breast, and under wing-coverts reddish- 
orange ; abdomen white. QuiUs brownish-black, their anterior half 
orange, forming a broad transverse band on the wing. Two middle tail- 
feathers black, the rest black in their terminal half, yellow in the basal 

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 6^ ; bill along the ridge /j, along 
the gap ^ ; tarsus f , middle toe ^. 

Adult Female. Plate XL. Fig. 2. 

Bill, feet and iris, as in the male. Head and upper parts brownish- 
grey, the former tinged with blue. Under parts greyish-white, the 
breast at the sides dull yellow. Band on the wings and at the base of 
the tail, pale yellow, tinged with green. 

Dimensions nearly as in the male. 

The Virginian Hornbeam, or Iron-wood Tree. 

OsTRYA viRGjyiCA, Wild. Sp. PL voL iv. p. 469. Pursh, Flor. Amer, vol. ii. p. 623. 
^MoNCECiA PoLYANDHiA, Linn. Amentace^, Juss, 

This species is distinguished by its ovato-oblong leaves, which are 
somewhat cordate at the base, unequally serrated and acuminate, and its 
twin, ovate, acute cones. It is a small tree, attaining a height of from 
twenty to thirty feet, and a diameter of about one foot. The wood is 
white, and close-grained. The common name in America is Iron-wood, 
which it receives on account of the great hardness of the wood. 

( 205 ) 


There is an extensive Swamp in the section of the State of Missis- 
sippi which lies partly in the Choctaw territory. It commences at the 
borders of the Mississippi, at no great distance from a Chicasaw village, 
situated near the mouth of a creek known by the name of Vanconnah, and 
partly inundated by the swellings of several large bayous, the principal 
of which, crossing the swamp in its whole extent, discharges its waters 
not far from the mouth of the Yazoo River. This famous bayou is called 
False River. The swamp of which I am speaking follows the windings 
of the Yazoo, until the latter branches off to the north-east, and at this 
point forms the stream named Cold Water River, below which the Yazoo 
receives the draining of another bayou inclining towards the north-west, 
and intersecting that known by the name of False River, at a short dis- 
tance from the place where the latter receives the waters of the Mississippi. 
This tedious account of the situation of the Swamp, is given with the 
view of pointing it out to all students of nature who may chance to go 
that way, and whom I would earnestly lu-ge to visit its interior, as it 
abounds in rare and interesting productions : birds, quadrupeds and rep- 
tiles, as well as molluscous animals, many of which, I am persuaded, have 
never been described. 

In the course of one of my rambles, I chanced to meet with a squat- 
ter's cabin on the banks of the Cold Water River. In the owner of this 
hut, like most of those adventurous settlers in the uncultivated tracts of 
our frontier districts, I found a person well versed in the chase, and ac- 
quainted with the habits of some of the larger species of quadrupeds and 
birds. As he who is desirous of instruction ought not to disdain hsten- 
ing to any one, who has knowledge to communicate, however humble 
may be his lot, or however limited his talents, I entered the squatter's 
cabin, and immediately opened a conversation with him respecting the 
situation of the swamp, and its natural productions. He told me he 
thought it the very place I ought to visit, spoke of the game which it 
contained, and pointed to some bear and deer skins, adding that the in- 
dividuals to which they had belonged formed but a small portion of the 
number of those animals which he had shot within it. My heart swelled 
with delight, and on asking if he would accompany me through the great 


morass, and allow me to become an inmate of his humble but hospitable 
mansion, I was gratified to find that he cordially assented to all my pro- 
posals. So I immediately unstrapped my drawing materials, laid up my 
gun, and sat down to partake of the homely but wholesome fare intended 
for the supper of the squatter, his wife, and his two sons. 

The quietness of the evening seemed in perfect accordance with the 
gentle demeanour of the family. The wife and children, I more than 
once thought, seemed to look upon me as a strange sort of person, going 
about, as I told them I was, in search of birds and plants ; and were I 
here to relate the many questions which they put to me in return for those 
which I addressed to them, the catalogue would occupy several pages. 
The husband, a native of Connecticut, had heard of the existence of such 
men as myself, both in our own country and abroad, and seemed greatly 
pleased to have me under his roof. Supper over, I asked my kind host 
what had induced him to remove to this wild and soUtary spot. " The 
people are growing too numerous now to thrive in New England," was 
his answer. I thought of the state of some parts of Europe, and calcu- 
lating the denseness of their population compared with that of New Eng- 
land, exclaimed to myself, " How much more difficult must it be for men 
to thrive in those populous countries !" The conversation then changed, 
and the squatter, his sons and myself, spoke of hunting and fishing, until 
at length tired, we laid ourselves down on pallets of bear skins, and re- 
posed in peace on the floor of the only apartment of which the hut con- 

i^i: Day dawned, and the squatter's call to his hogs, which, being almost 
in a wild state, were suffered to seek the greater portion of their food in 
the woods, awakened me. Being ready dressed, I was not long in join- 
ing him. The hogs and their young came grunting at the well known 
call of their owner, who threw them a few ears of corn, and counted them, 
but told me that for some weeks their number had been greatly diminish- 
ed by the ravages committed upon them by a large Panther, by which 
name the Cougar is designated in America, and that the ravenous animal 
did not content himself with the flesh of his pigs, but now and then car- 
ried off one of his calves, notwithstanding the many attempts he had 
made to shoot it. The Painter, as he sometimes called it, had on several 
occasions robbed him of a dead deer ; and to these exploits the squatter 
added several remarkable feats of audacity which it had performed, to 
give me an idea of the formidable character of the beast. Delighted by 


his description, I ofFered to assist him in destroying the enemy, at 
which he was highly pleasetl, but assured me that unless some of his 
neighbours should join us with their dogs and his own, the attempt would 
prove fruitless. Soon after, mounting a horse, he went off to his neigh- 
bours, several of whom lived at a distance of some miles, and appointed 
a day of meeting. 

The hunters, accordingly, made their appearance, one fine morning, 
at the door of the cabin, just as the sun was emerging from beneath the 
horizon. They were five in number, and fully equipped for the chase, 
being mounted on horses, which in some parts of Europe might appear 
sorry nags, but which in strength, speed and bottom, are better fitted for 
pursuing a cougar or a bear through woods and morasses than any in that 
country. A pack of large ugly curs were already engaged in making ac- 
quaintance with those of the squatter. He and myself mounted his two 
best horses, whilst his sons were bestriding others of inferior quality. 

Few words were uttered by the party until we had reached the edge 
of the Swamp, where it was agreed that all should disperse and seek for 
the fresh track of the Painter, it being previously settled that the dis- 
coverer should blow his horn, and remain on the spot, until the rest 
should join him. In less than an hour, the sound of the horn was 
clearly heard, and, sticking close to the squatter, off we went through the 
thick woods, guided only by the now and then repeated call of the dis- 
tant huntsmen. We soon reached the spot, and in a short time the rest 
of the party came up. The best dog was sent forward to track the 
Cougar, and in a few moments, the whole pack were observed diligently 
trailing, and bearing in their course for the interior of the Swamp. The 
rifles were immediately put in trim, and the party followed the dogs, at 
separate distances, but in sight of each other, determined to shoot at no 
other game than the Panther. 

The dogs soon began to mouth, and suddenly quickened their pace. 
My companion concluded that the beast was on the ground, and putting 
our horses to a gentle gallop, we followed the ciu-s, guided by their voices. 
The noise of the dogs increased, when, all of a sudden their mode of 
barking became altered, and the squatter, urging me to push on, told me 
that the beast was treed, by which he meant that it had got upon some 
low branch of a large tree to rest for a few moments, and that should we 
not succeed in shooting him when thus situated, we might expect a long 
chase of it. As we approached the spot, we all by degress united into a 


body, but on seeing the dogs at the foot of a large tree, separated again 
and galloped off to surround it. 

Each hunter now moved with caution, holding his gun ready, and al- 
lowing the bridle to dangle on the neck of his horse, as it advanced slow- 
ly towards the dogs. A shot from one of the party was heard, on which 
the Cougar was seen to leap to the ground, and bound off Avith such ve- 
locity as to shew that he was very unwilling to stand our fire longer. 
The dogs set off in pursuit with great eagerness and a deafening cry. 
The hunter who had fired came up and said that his ball had hit the 
monster, and had probably broken one of his fore-legs near the shoulder, 
the only place at which he could aim. A slight trail of blood was dis- 
covered on the ground, but the curs proceeded at such a rate that we 
merely noticed this, and put spurs to our horses, which galloped on to- 
wards the centre of the Swamp. One bayou was crossed, then another 
still larger and more muddy ; but the dogs were brushing forward, and 
as the horses began to pant at a furious rate, we judged it expedient to 
leave them and advance on foot. These determined hunters knew that 
the Cougar being wounded, would shortly ascend another tree, where in 
all probabiUty he would remain for a considerable time, and that it would 
be easy to follow the track of the dogs. We dismounted, took off the 
saddles and bridles, set the bells attached to the horses' necks at liberty 
to jingle, hoppled the animals, and left them to shift for themselves. 

Now, kind reader, follow the group marching through the swamp, 
crossing muddy pools, and making the best of their way over fallen 
trees and amongst the tangled rushes that now and then covered acres of 
ground. If you are a hunter yourself, all this will appear nothing to 
you ; but if crowded assemblies of " beauty and fashion," or the quiet 
enjoyment of your " pleasure-grounds," alone delight you, I must mend 
my pen before I attempt to give you an idea of the pleasure felt on such 
an expedition. 

After marching for a couple of hours, we again heard the dogs. 
Each of us pressed forward, elated at the thought of terminating the 
career of the cougar. Some of the dogs were heard whining, although 
the greater number barked vehemently. We felt assured that the Cou- 
gar was treed, and that he would rest for some time to recover from his 
fatigue. As we came up to the dogs, we discovered the ferocious animal 
lying across a large branch, close to the trunk of a cotton-wood tree. 

His broad breast lay towards us ; his eyes were at one time bent on us 



and again on the dogs beneath and around him ; one of his fore legs hung 
loosely by his side, and he lay crouched, with his ears lowered close to his 
head, as if he thought he might remain undiscovered. Three balls were 
fired at him, at a given signal, on which he sprang a few feet from the 
branch, and tumbled headlong to the ground. Attacked on aU sides by 
the enraged curs, the infuriated Cougar fought with desperate valour ; 
but the squatter advancing in front of the party, and almost in the midst 
of the dogs, shot him immediately behind and beneath the left shoulder. 
The Cougar writhed for a moment in agony, and in another lay dead. 

The sun was now sinking in the west. Two of the hunters separated 
from the rest, to procure venison, whilst the squatter's sons were ordered 
to make the best of their way home, to be ready to feed the hogs in the 
morning. The rest of the party agreed to camp on the spot. The 
cougar was despoiled of its skin, and its carcass left to the hungry dogs. 
Whilst engaged in preparing our camp, we heard the report of a gun, 
and soon after one of our hunters returned with a small deer. A fire 
was lighted, and each hunter displayed his potie of bread, along with a 
flask of whisky. The deer was skinned in a trice, and sUces placed on sticks 
before the fire. These materials afforded us an excellent meal, and as 
the night grew darker, stories and songs went round, until my com- 
panions, fatigued, laid themselves down, close under the smoke of the 
fire, and soon fell asleep. 

I walked for some minutes round the camp, to contemplate the beau- 
ties of that nature, from which I have certainly derived my greatest 
pleasures. I thought of the occurrences of the day, and glancing my 
eye around, remarked the singular effects produced by the phosphores- 
cent qualities of the large decayed trunks which lay in all directions 
around me. How easy, I thought, would it be for the confused and agi- 
tated mind of a person bewildered in a swamp like this, to imagine in 
each of these luminous masses some wondrous and fearful being, the very 
sight of which might make the hair stand erect on his head. The thought 
of being myself placed in such a predicament burst over my mind, and 
I hastened to join my companions, beside whom I laid me down and slept, 
assured that no enemy could approach us without first rousing the dogs, 
which were growling in fierce dispute over the remains of the cougar. 

At daybreak we left our camp, the squatter bearing on his shoulder 
the skin of the late destroyer of his stock, and retraced our steps until 
we found our horses, which had not strayed far from the place where we 


had left them. These we soon saddled, and jogging along, in a direct 
course, guided by the sun, congratulating each other on the destruction 
of so formidable a neighbour as the panther had been, we soon arrived 
at my host's cabin. The five neighbours partook of such refreshment as 
the house could afford, and dispersing, returned to their homes, leaving 
me to follow my favourite pursuits. 

( 211 ) 


Tetrao Umbellus, Linn. 

PLATE XLI. Male and Female. 

You are now presented, kind, reader, with a species of Grouse, which, 
in my humble opinion, far surpasses as an article of food every other 
land-bird which we have in the United States, except the Wild Turkey, 
when in good condition. You must not be surprised that I thus express 
an opinion contradictory to that of our Eastern epicures, who greatly 
prefer the flesh of the Pinnated Grouse to that of the present species, for 
I have had abundant opportunity of knowing both. Perhaps, after all, 
the preference may depend upon a peculiarity in my own taste ; or I may 
give the superiority to the Ruffed Grouse, because it is as rarely met 
with in the Southern States, where I have chiefly resided, as the Pinnated 
Grouse is in the Middle Districts ; and were the bon-vivants of our eastern 
cities to be occasionally satiated with the latter birds, as I have been, 
they might possibly think their flesh as dry and flavourless as I do. 

The names of Pheasant and Partridge have been given to the pre- 
sent species by our forefathers, in the different districts where it is found. 
To the Avest of the Alleghanies, and on these mountains, the first name 
is generally used. The same appellation is employed in the Middle Dis- 
tricts, to the east of the mountains, and until you enter the State of Con- 
necticut ; after which that of Partridge prevails. 

The Rviffed Grouse, although a constant resident in the districts which 
it frequents, performs partial sorties at the approach of autumn. These 
are not equal in extent to the peregrinations of the Wild Turkey, our 
little Partridge, or the Pinnated Grouse, but are sufficiently so to become 
observable during the seasons when certain portions of the mountainous 
districts which they inhabit become less abundantly supplied with food 
than others. These partial movings might not be noticed, were not the 
birds obliged to fly across rivers of great breadth, as whilst in the moun- 
tain lands their groups are as numerous as those which attempt these mi- 
grations; but on the north-west banks of the Ohio and Susquehanna 
rivers, no one who pays the least attention to the manners and habits of 
our birds, can fail to observe them. The Grouse approach the banks of 



the Ohio in parties of eight or ten, now and then of twelve or fifteen, 
and, on arriving there, linger in the woods close by for a week or a fort- 
night, as if fearful of encountering the danger to be incurred in crossing 
the stream. This usually happens in the beginning of October, when 
these birds are in the very best order for the table, and at this period 
great numbers of them are killed. If started from the ground, with or 
without the assistance of a dog, they immediately alight on the nearest 
trees, and are easily shot. At length, however, they resolve upon cross- 
ing the river ; and this they accomplish with so much ease, that I never 
saw any of them drop into the water. Not more than two or three days 
elapse after they have reached the opposite shore, when they at once pro- 
ceed to the interior of the forests, in search of places congenial to the 
general character of their habits. They now resume their ordinary man- 
ner of living, which they continue until the approach of spring, when 
the males, as if leading the way, proceed singly towards the country from 
which they had retreated. The females follow in small parties of three 
or four. In the month of October 1820, I observed a larger number of 
Ruffed Grouse migrating thus from the States of Ohio, Illinois and In- 
diana into Kentucky, than I had ever before remarked. During the 
short period of their lingering along the north-Avest shore of the Ohio 
that season, a great number of them was killed, and they were sold in 
the Cincinnati market for so small a sum as 12| cents each. 

Although these birds are particvilarly attached to the craggy sides of 
mountains and hills, and the rocky borders of rivers and small streams, 
thickly mantled with evergreen trees and small shrubs of the same nature, 
they at times remove to low lands, and even enter the thickest cane-brakes, 
where they also sometimes breed. I have shot some, and have heard them 
drumming- in such places, when there were no hills nearer than fifteen or 
twenty miles. The lower parts of the State of Indiana and also those of 
Kentucky, are amongst the places where I have discovered them in such 

The charming groves which here and there contrast so beautifully 
with the general dull appearance of those parts of Kentucky and Tennes- 
see, to which the name of Barretts is given, are sought by the Ruffed 
Grouse. These groves afford them abundant food and security. The 
gentle coolness that prevails in them during the summer heat is agreeable 
and beneficial to these birds, and the closeness of their undergrowth in 
other spots moderates the cold blasts of winter. There this species breeds, 


and is at all times to be found. Their drumming is to be heard issuing 
from these peaceful retreats in early spring, at the same time that the 
booming of their relative, the Pinnated Grouse, is recognised, as it reaches 
the ear of the traveller, from the different parts of the more open country 
around. In such places as the groves just mentioned, the species now be- 
fore you, kind reader, is to be met with, as you travel towards the south, 
through the whole of Tennessee and the Choctaw Territory ; but as you 
approach the city of Natchez they disappear, nor have I ever heard of 
one of these birds having been seen in the State of Louisiana. 

The mountainous parts of the Middle States being more usually the 
chosen residence of this species, I shall, with your permission, kind read- 
er, return to them, and try to give you an account of this valuable Grouse. 
The flight of the Ruffed Grouse is straight-forward, rather low, un- 
less when the bird has been disturbed, and seldom protracted beyond a 
few hundred yards at a time. It is also stiff, and performed with a con- 
tinued beating of the wings for more than half its duration, after which 
the bird sails and seems to balance its body as it proceeds through the air, 
in the manner of a vessel sailing right before the wind. C When this bird \ 
rises from the ground at a time when pursued by an enemy, or tracked I 
by a dog, it produces a loud wliirring sound, resembling that of the whole 
tribe, excepting the Black Cock of Europe, which has less of it than any 
other species. This whirring sound is never heard when the Grouse rises 
of its own accord, for the purpose of removing from one place to another ; 
nor, in similar circumstances, is it commonly produced by our little Par- 
tridge. In fact, I do not believe that it is emitted by any species of Grouse, 
unless when surprised and forced to rise. I have often been lying on the 
ground in the woods or the fields for hours at a time, for the express pur- 
pose of observing the movements and habits of different birds, and have 
frequently seen a Partridge or a Grouse rise on wing from within a few j 
yards of the spot in which I lay unobserved by them, as gently and softly / 
as any other bird, and without producing any whirring sound. Nor even / 
when this Grouse ascends to the top of a tree, does it make any greater j 
noise than other birds of the same size would do. ^^-^ j 

I have said this much respecting the flight of Grouse, because it is a 
prevalent opinion, both among sportsmen and naturalists, that the whirr- 
ing sound produced by birds of that genus, is a necessary effect of their 
usual mode of flight. But that this is an error, I have abundantly satis^ 
fled myself by numberless observations. 


On the ground, where the RufFed Grouse spends a large portion of its 
time, its motions are peculiarly graceful. It walks with an elevated firm 
step, opening its beautiful tail gently and with a well-marked jet, holding 
erect its head, the feathers of which are frequently raised, as are the vel- 
vety tufts of its neck. It poises its body on one foot for several seconds at 
a time, and utters a soft cluck, which in itself impUes a degree of confi- 
dence in the bird that its tout ensemble is deserving of the notice of any 
bystander. Should the bird discover that it is observed, its step immedi- 
ately changes to a rapid run, its head is lowered, the tail is more widely 
spread, and if no convenient hiding-place is at hand, it immediately takes 
flight with as much of the whirring sound as it can produce, as if to prove 
to the observer, that, when on wing, it cares as little about him as the 
deer pretends to do, when, on being started by the hound, he makes se- 
veral lofty bounds, and erects his tail to the breeze. Should the Grouse, 
however, run into a thicket, or even over a place where many dried leaves 
lie on the ground, it suddenly stops, squats, and remains close until the 
danger is over, or until it is forced by a dog or the sportsman himself to 
rise against its wish. 

The shooting of Grouse of this species is precarious, and at times very 
difficult, on account of the nature of the places which they usually pre- 
fer. Should, for instance, a covey of these birds be raised from amongst 
Laurels (Kalmia latifolia) or the largest species of Bay {Rhododendron 
maximurn), these shrvibs so intercept the view of them, that, unless the 
sportsman proves quite an adept in the difficult art of pulling the trigger 
of his gun at the proper moment, and quickly, his first chance is lost, and 
the next is very uncertain. I say still more uncertain, because at this 
putting up of the birds, they generally rise higher over the bushes, flying 
in a straight course, whereas at the second start, they often fly among the 
laurels, and rise above them in a circuitous manner, when to follow them 
along the barrel of the gun is considerably more difficult. Sometimes, 
when these birds are found on the sides of a steep hill, the moment they 
start, they dive towards the foot of the declivity, take a turn, and fly off' 
in a direction so different from the one expected, that unless the sportsman 
is aware of the trick, he may not see them again that day. The young 
birds often prove equally difficult to be obtained, for as they are raised 
from amongst the closely tangled laurels, they only fly a few j^ards, and 
again drop among them. A smart cur-dog generally proves the best kind 
on these occasions ; for no sooner does he start a covey of Ruffed Grouse 


than his barking alarms the birds as much as the report of a gun, and 
causes them to rise and alight on the nearest trees, on which they may be 
shot at with great success. 

This leads me to remark, that the prevailing notion which exists in al- 
most every district where these birds are numerous, that on firing at the 
lowest bird perched on a tree, the next above will not fly, and that by 
continuing to shoot at the lowest in succession, the whole may be killed, 
is contradicted by my experience ; for on every attempt wliich I have 
made to shoot several in this manner on the same tree, my efforts have 
proved unsuccessful, unless indeed during a fall of snow, when I have 
killed three and sometimes four. The same cause produces the same ef- 
fect on different birds. It may happen, however, that in districts covered 
with deep snow for several weeks, during severe winters, these birds, be- 
coming emaciated and weak, may stand a repetition of shots from a person 
determined to shoot Grouse even when they are good for nothing ; but, 
kind reader, this barbarous taste is, I hope, no more yours than it is mine. 

During spring, and towards the latter part of autumn, at which times 
the Ruffed Grouse is heard drumming from different parts of the woods 
to which it resorts, I have shot many a fine cock by imitating the sound 
of its own wings striking against the body, which I did/by beating a large 
inflated bullock's bladder with a stick, keeping up as much as possible the 
same time as that in which the bird beats. At the sound produced by / 
the bladder and the stick, the male Grouse, inflamed with jealousy, has 
flown directly towards me, when, being prepared, I have easily shot it.^ 
An equally successful stratagem is employed to decoy the males of our 
little Partridge by imitating the call-note of the female during spring 
and summer ; but .In no instance, after repeated trials, have I been able ' 
to entice the Pinnated Grouse to come towards me, whilst imitating the 
boominf^ sounds of that bird. 

Early in spring, these birds are frequently seen feeding on the tender 
buds of different trees, and at that season are more easily approached than 
at any other. Unfortunately, however, they have not by this time re- 
covered their flesh sufliciently to render them worthy of the attention of 
a true sportsman, although their flavour has already improved. When 
our mountains are covered with a profusion of Huckleberries and Whortle- 
berries, about the beginning of September, then is the time for shooting 
this species, and enjoying the delicious food which it affords. 

The Ruffed Grouse, on alighting upon a tree, after being raised from 


the ground, perches amongst the thickest parts of the foliage, and, assum- 
ing at once an erect attitude, stands perfectly stiU, and remains silent un- 
til all appearance of danger has vanished. If discovered when thus 
perched, it is very easily shot. On rising from the ground, the bird 
utters a cackling note repeated six or seven times, and before taking 
wing emits a hsping sort of whistle, which seems as if produced by the 
young of another bird, and is very remarkable. 

When the ground is covered with snow sufficiently soft to allow this 
bird to conceal itself under it, it dives headlong into it with such force as 
to form a hole several yards in length, re-appears at that distance, and 
continues to elude the pursuit of the sportsman by flight. They are 
sometimes caught while beneath the snow. Many of them are taken aUve 
in trap boxes during winter, although the more common method of catch- 
ing or rather destroying them is by setting dead falls with a figure-of-four 

Early in April, the Ruffed Grouse begins to drum immediately after 
dawn, and again towards the close of day. As the season advances, the 
drumming is repeated more frequently at aU hours of the day ; and where 
these birds are abundant, this curious sound is heard from all parts of the 
woods in which they reside. The drumming is performed in the follow- 
ing manner. The male bird, standing erect on a prostrate decayed trunk, 
raises the feathers of its body, in the manner of a Turkey-cock, draws 
its head towards it tail, erecting the feathers of the latter at the same 
time, and raising its ruff around the neck, suffers its wings to droop, and 
struts about on the log. A few moments elapse, when the bird draws 
the whole of its feathers close to its body, and stretching itself out, beats 
its sides with its wings, in the manner of the domestic Cock, but more 
loudly, and with such rapidity of motion, after a few of the first strokes, 
as to cause a tremor in the air not unlike the rumbUng of distant thunder. 
This, kind reader, is the " drumming''' of the Pheasant. In perfectly 
calm weather, it may be heard at the distance of two hundred yards, but 
might be supposed to proceed from a much greater distance. The female, 
which never drums, flies directly to the place where the male is thus en- 
gaged, and, on approaching him, opens her wings before him, balances 
her body to the right and left, and then receives his caresses. 

The same trunk is resorted to by the same birds during the season, un- 
less they are frequently disturbed. These trunks are easily known by the 
quantity of excrements and feathers about them. The males have the 


liberty of promiscuous concubinage, although not to such an extent as 
those of the Pinnated Grouse. They have frequent and severe battles 
at this season, which, although witnessed by the females, are never inter- 
rupted by them. The drumming sounds of these birds lead to their de- 
struction, every young sportsman taking the unfair advantage of approach- 
ing them at this season, and shooting them in the act. 

About the beginning of May, the female retires to some thicket in a 
close part of the woods, where she forms a nest. This is placed by the 
side of a prostrate tree, or at the foot of a low bush, on the ground, in a 
spot where a heap of dried leaves has been formed by the wind. The nest 
is composed of dried leaves and herbaceous plants. The female lays from 
five to twelve eggs, which are of a uniform dull yellowish colour, and are 
proportionate in size to the bird. The latter never covers them on leav- 
ing the nest, and in consequence, the Raven and the Crow, always on the 
look out for such dainties, frequently discover and eat them. When the 
female is present, however, she generally defends them with great obstinacy, 
striking the intruder with her wings and feet, in the manner of the Com- 
mon Hen. 

The young run about and follow the mother, the moment after they 
leave the egg. They are able to fly for a few yards at a time, when only 
six or seven days old, and still very small. The mother leads them in 
search of food, covers them at~«ight with her wings, and evinces the 
greatest care and affection towards them on the least appearance of danger, 
trying by every art in her power to draw the attention of her enemies to 
herself, feigning lameness, tumbling and rolhng about as if severely 
wounded, and by this means generally succeeding in saving them. The 
little ones squat at the least chuck of alarm from the mother, and lie so 
close as to suffer one to catch them in the hand, should he chance to dis- 
cover them, which, however, it is very difficult to do. The males are then 
beginning to associate in small parties, and continue separated from the 
females until the approach of winter, when males, females, and young, 
mingle together. During smnmer, these birds are fond of dusting them- 
selves, and resort to the roads for that purpose, as well as to pick up gra- 
vel. I have observed this species copulating towards autumn, but have 
not been able to account for this unseasonable procedure, as only one 
brood is raised in the season. 

These birds have various enemies besides man. Different species of 
Hawks destroy them, particularly the Red-tailed Hawk and the Stanley 


Hawk. The former watches their motions from the tops of trees, and 
falls upon them with the swiftness of thought, whilst the latter seizes up- 
on them as he glides rapidly through the woods. Pole-cats, weasels, 
raccoons, oppossums, and foxes, are all destructive foes to them. Of 
these, some are content with sucking their eggs, while others feed on 
their flesh. 

I have found these birds most numerous in the States of Pennsylvania 
and New York. They are brought to the markets in great numbers, 
during the winter months, and sell at from 15 cents to a dollar a-piece, 
in the eastern cities. At Pittsburg I have bought them, some years ago, 
for 121 '^ents the pair. It is said that when they have fed for several 
weeks on the leaves of the Kalmia lat'ifuUa, it is dangerous to eat their 
flesh, and I believe laws have been passed to prevent their being sold at 
that season. I have, however, eaten them at all seasons, and although 1 
have found their crops distended with the leaves of the Kalmia, have 
never felt the least inconvenience after eating them, nor even perceived 
any difference of taste in their flesh. I suspect it is only when the birds 
have been kept a long time undrawn and vmplucked, that the flesh be- 
comes impregnated with the juice of these leaves. 

The food of this species consists of seeds and berries of all kinds, ac- 
cording to the season. It also feeds on the leaves of several species of 
evergreens, although these are only resorted to when other food has be- 
come scarce. They are particularly fond of fox-grapes and winter-grapes, 
as well as strawberries and dewberries. To procure the latter, they issue 
from the groves of the Kentucky Barrens, and often stray to the distance 
of a mile. They roost on trees, amongst the thickest parts of the fo- 
liage, sitting at some distance from each other, and may easily be smoked 
to death, by using the necessary precautions. 

I cannot conclude this article, kind reader, without observing how de- 
sirable the acqviisition of this species might be to the sportsmen of Europe, 
and especially to those of England, where I am surprised it has not yet 
been introduced. The size of these birds, the beauty of their plumage, 
the excellence of their flesh, and their peculiar mode of flying, would ren- 
der them valuable, and add greatly to the interest of the already diversi- 
fied sports of that country. In England and Scotland there are thou- 
sands of situations that are by nature perfectly suited to their habits, 
and I have not a doubt that a few years of attention would be sufficient 
to render them quite as common as the Grey Partridge. 


Tetrao Umbellus, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. iTS.—Lath. Ind. Orn. vol. ii. p. 638 — 
Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 126. 

Ruffed Grouse, Tetrao Umbellus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 45. PL 40. 
Male — Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 738. 

Shoui.der-knot Grouse Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 737- 

Adult Male. Plate XLI. Fig. 1,2. 

Bill short, robust, slightly arched, rather obtuse, the base covered by 
feathers ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline straight in the feathered 
part, convex towards the end, the edges overlapping, the tip declinate ; 
under mandible somewhat bulging toward the tip, the sides convex. 
Nostrils concealed among the feathers. Head and neck small. Body 
bulky. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus feathered, excepting at the lower 
part anteriorly, where it is scutellate, spurless ; toes scuteUate above, pec- 
tinated on the sides ; claws arched, depressed, obtuse. 

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the head narrow and elon- 
gated into a curved tuft. A large space on the neck destitute of feathers, 
but covered over by an erectile ruff" of elongated feathers, of which the 
upper are silky, shining, and curved forwards at the end, which is very 
broad and rounded. Wings short, broad, much rounded and curved, the 
third and fourth quiUs longest. Tail long, ample, rounded, of eighteen 

Bill horn-colour, brownish-black towards the tip. Iris hazel. Feet 
yellowish-grey. Upper part of the head and hind part of the neck bright 
yellowish-red. Back rich chestnut, marked with oblong white spots, mar- 
gined with black. Upper wing-coverts similar to the back. Quills 
brownish-dusky, their outer webs pale reddish, spotted with dusky. Upper 
tail-coverts banded with black. Tail reddish-yellow, barred and minutely 
mottled with black, and terminated by a broad band of the latter colour, 
between two narrow bands of bluish-white, of which one is tenninal. A 
yellowish-white band from the upper mandible to the eye, beyond which 
it is prolonged. Throat and lower part of the neck light brownish-yel- 
low. Lower ruff" feathers of the same colour, barred with reddish-brown, 
the upper black with blue reflections. A tuft of light chestnut feathers 
under the wings. The rest of the under parts yellowish- white, with broad 
transverse spots of brownish-red ; the abdomen yellowish-red ; and the 
under tail-coverts mottled with brown. 


Length 18 inches, extent of wings 2 feet ; bill along the ridge |, along 
the gap lj\ ; tarsus lj\, middle toe 1|. 

Adult Female. Plate XLI. Fig. 8. 

The plumage of the female is less developed and inferior in beauty. 
The feathers of the head and ruff are less elongated, the latter of a 
duller black. The tints of the plumage generally are lighter than in 
the male. 

( 221 ) 


Icterus spurius, Bonap. 

PLATE XLII. Male in diffeeent states, Adult Female and Nest. 

The plumage of many species of our birds undergoes at times very 
extraordinary changes. Some, such as the male Tanagers, which during 
the summer months exhibit the most vivid scarlet and velvety black, as- 
sume a dingy green before they leave the country, on their way south- 
ward. The Goldfinch nearly changes to the same colour, after having 
been seen in a gay apparel of yellow and black. The Rice Bird loses 
its lively brightness until the return of spring. Others take several years 
before they complete their plumage, so as to shew the true place which 
they hold amongst the other species, as is the case with the Ibis, the 
Flamingo, and many other Waders, as well as with several of our land 
birds, among which, kind reader, the species now under your considera- 
tion is probably that in which these gradual improvements are most ob- 
servable by such persons as reside in the country inhabited by them. 

The plumage of the young birds of this species, when they leave the 
nest, resembles that of the female parent, although rather less decided in 
point of colouring, and both males and females retain this colour until 
the approach of the following spring, when the former exhibit a portion 
of black on the chin, the females never altering. In birds kept in cages, 
this portion of black remains without farther augmentation for two years ; 
but in those which are at hberty, a curious mixture of dull orange or 
deep chestnut peeps out through a considerable increase of black-co- 
loured feathers over the body and wings, intermixed with the yellowish- 
oreen hue which the bird had when it left the nest. The third spring 
brings him nearer towards perfection, as at that time the deep chestnut 
colour has taken possession of the lower parts, the black has deepened on 
the upper parts, and over the whole head, as well as on the wings and 
tail-feathers. Yet the garb with which it is ultimately to be covered 
requires another return of spring before it is completed, after which it 
remains as exhibited in the adult male, represented in the plate. 

These extraordinary changes are quite sufficient of themselves to lead 
naturalists abroad into error, as they give rise to singular arguments even 


with some persons in America, who maintain that the differences of colour 
are indicative of different species. But, since the habits of these birds 
under all these singular changes of plumage are ascertained to be pre- 
cisely the same, the argument no longer holds good. I shall now en- 
deavour to describe these habits with all the accuracy supplied by long 

The migration of the Orchard Oriole from south to north is performed 
by day, and singly, as is that of its relative the Baltimore Oriole, the 
males appearing a week or ten days sooner than the females. Their 
flight is lower than that of the Baltimore, and considerably shorter in its 
continuance, the Orchard Oriole alighting more frequently on the tops of 
the trees, to rest or to feed. They exhibit a greater repetition of motions of 
the Avings, although sliding through the air for a few yards only at a time, 
and whilst about to alight, as well as afterwards, perform strong and well 
marked jettings of the tail. This the Baltimore seldom does. No sooner 
have they reached the portion of the country in which they intend to re- 
main during the time of raising their young, than these birds exhibit all 
the liveliness and vivacity belonging to their nature. The male is seen 
rising in the air for ten or twenty yards in an indirect manner, jerking 
his tail and body, flapping his wings, and singing with remarkable im- 
petuosity, as if under the influence of haste, and anxious to return to the 
tree from which he has departed. He accordingly descends Avith the 
same motions of the body and tail, repeating his pleasant song as he 
alights. These gambols and caroUings are performed frequently during 
the day, the intervals being employed in ascending or descending along 
the branches and twigs of chfferent trees, in search of insects or larvae. 
In doing this, they rise on their legs, seldom without jetting the tail, 
stretch their neck, seize the prey, and emit a single note, which is sweet 
and mellow, although in power much inferior to that of the Baltimore. 
At other times, it is seen bending its body downwards, in a curved pos- 
ture, with the head greatly inclined upwards, to peep at the under parts 
of the leaves, so as not to suffer any grub to escape its vigilance. It now 
alights on the ground, where it has spied a crawling insect, and again 
flies towards the blossoms, in which many are ku'king, and devours 
hundreds of them each day, thus contributing to secvire to the farmer the 
hopes which he has of the productiveness of liis orchard. 

The arrival of the females is marked with all due regard, and the 
males immediately use every effort in their power to procure from them 


a return of attention. Their singings and tricks are performed with re- 
doubled ardour, until they are paired, when nidification is attended to 
with the utmost activity. They resort to the meadows, or search along 
the fences for the finest, longest, and toughest grasses they can find, and 
having previously fixed on a spot either on an Apple Tree, or amidst 
the drooping branches of the Weeping Willow, they begin by attaching 
the grass firmly and neatly to the twigs more immediately around the 
chosen place. The filaments are twisted, passed over and under, and inter- 
woven in such a manner as almost to defy the eye of man to follow their 
windings. All this is done by the bill of the bird, in the manner used 
by the Baltimore Oriole. The nest is of a hemispherical form, and 
is supported by the margin only. It seldom exceeds three or four 
inches in depth, is open almost to the full extent of its largest diameter 
at the top or entrance, and finished on all sides, as well as within, with 
the long slender grasses already mentioned. Some of these go round 
the nest several times, as if coarsely woven together. This is the man- 
ner in which the nest is constructed in Louisiana ; in the Middle Districts 
it is usually lined with soft and warm materials. The female lays from 
four to six eggs of a bluish-white tint, sprinkled with dark brown, and 
raises only a single brood in the season. The young follow the parents 
for several weeks, and many birds congregate towards autumn, but the 
males soon separate from the females, and set out by themselves as they 
arrived in spring. 

The sociality of the Orchard Oriole is quite remarkable, and in this 
respect that bird differs widely from the Baltimore, which will not sufi^er 
any other bird of its species to build a nest, or to remain within a con- 
siderable distance from the spot which it has selected for its own ; whereas 
many nests of the species now before you may be observed in the same 
garden or orchard, and often within a few yards of the house. I have 
counted as many as nine of these nests on a few acres of ground, and the 
different pairs to which they belonged lived in great harmony. 

Although the food of the Orchard Orioles consists principally of in- 
sects of various kinds, it is not composed exclusively of them. They are 
fond of different sorts of fruits and berries. Figs are also much relished 
by them, as well as mulberries and strawberries, but not to such a degree 
as to draw the attention of the gardener or husbandman towards their 


This species makes its first appearance in Louisiana early in March, 
and remains until October, being seen for several weeks after the Balti- 
more Oriole has set out. In reaches the Middle Districts in the begin- 
ning of April. I have met with it as far as the province of Maine and 
the head waters of the Mississippi. It is fond of high ground and the 
neighbourhood of mountains during the breeding season, after which it 
removes to the meadows and prairies in considerable numbers. Whilst 
in these meadows, it feeds principally upon a small species of cricket, 
ground spiders and small grasshoppers. Their flesh is very good at 
that late season, and is much esteemed by the Creoles of Louisiana. 

The French of that State give it the name of Papc de Prairie, while 
they designate the Baltimore Oriole by that of Pape de Bois, which arises 
no doubt from the marked preference which the former manifests to the 
plains in autumn, where a great number are shot or caught in trap cages. 
It is easily kept in cages, where it sings with all the liveliness which it 
shews in its wild state, and may be fed on rice and dry fruits, when fresh 
ones cannot be procured. I have known one of these birds, a beautiful 
male, kept for upwards of four years by a friend of mine at New Orleans. 
It had been raised from the nest, and having passed through the different 
changes of its plumage, had become perfect, was full of action, and sung 

The nest represented in the plate was drawn in Louisiana, and was 
entirely composed of grass. It may be looked upon as a sample of the 
usual form and construction. The branch of Honey Locust on which 
you see these birds belongs to a tree which sometimes grows to a great 
height, without much apparent choice of situation. It is more abundant 
to the west of the AUeghanies, and towards the Southern Districts, than in 
the Middle States. The wood is brittle and seldom used. The trunk and 
branches are frequently covered with innumerable long, sharp, and ex- 
tremely hard spines, protruded in every direction, and in some instances 
placed so near to each other as to preclude the possibility of any person"'s 
climbing them. It bears a long pod, containing a sweet substance, not 
unlike that of the honey of bees, and which is eaten by children, when it 
becomes quite ripe. The spines are made use of by tobacconists for the 
purpose of fastening together the different twists of their rolls. 


Icterus spurius, Ch. Bonaparte, Svnop?. of Birds of the United States, p. 51. 

Oriolus spurius, Gmel, Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 389 Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 18Q. 

Bastard Baltimore, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 433. 

Orchard Oriole, Oriolus mutatus, Wils. .\meric. Ornith. vol. i. p. 64. PI. iv. 
fig. 1, 2, 3, 4. 

Male in complete plumage. Plate XLII. Fig. 1,2. 

Bill conical, slender, longish, compressed, a little curved, very acute, 
with inflected acute margins ; upper mandible obtuse above, lower broad- 
ly obtuse beneath. Nostrils oval, covered by a membrane above, basal. 
Head and neck of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet of ordinary 
length ; tarsus a little longer than the middle toe ; inner toe little shorter 
than the outer ; claws arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe 
twice the size of the others. 

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second 
and third primaries longest. Tail long, rounded, of twelve rounded 

Bill black above with light blue margins, light blue beneath. Iris 
reddish-brown. Feet light blue. Head, neck, and upper back black ; 
the rest of the body dusky orange-red, approaching to chestnut. Quills 
and larger coverts black, margined with yellow, the latter tipped with 
yellowish-white ; tail black. 

Length 6^ inches, extent of wings 9 ; bill along the ridge -J^, along 
the gap f ; tarsus 1, middle toe ^. 

Adult Female. Plate XLII. Fig. 5. 

Bill, feet and iris, as in the male. Head and upper parts brownish- 
green. Wings and tail greenish-brown ; wing-coverts tipped with white ; 
throat white, sides of the neck and under parts generally greyish-yellow. 
The young of both sexes resemble the female. 

Male, first autumn and spring. Plate XLII. Fig. 3. 

A patch of black on the throat, continued upwards over the lore and 
forehead. Head and upper parts brownish-green ; fore part of the back 
orange ; a yellow band over the eye. Under parts light yellow. Wings 
and tail as in the female, but the coverts tipped with yellow. 


Male in the second year. Plate XLII. Fig 4. 

Irregularly spotted with black, yellow, and reddish orange, on the 
head, neck, and back ; the other parts nearly as in the adult male. 

The Honey Locust. 

Gleditschia triacanthos, Willd. Sp. PL vol. iv. p. 1097- Pursh, Flor. Amei-. 
vol. i. p. 221. Mich. Arbr. Forest. voL iiL p. 164. PI. 10. — Poltgamia Dioecia, 
Linn, 'Legvw.ihosm, Jttss. 

This tree, when growing in situations most favourable to it, sometimes 
attains a height of sixty or eighty feet, and a diameter of three or four. 
The bark is detached in large plates, and the trunk is marked with seve- 
ral broad furrows. The flowers, which are small and of a greenish 
colour, are succeeded by long, flat, pendent, generally tortuous pods, of 
a brown colour. The wood is very hard, but porous and brittle. This 
species is distinguished by its numerous, generally tripartite spines, its 
linear-oblong leaflets, and its many-seeded, compressed legumes. 

( 2-27 ) 

PLATE XLIII. Male and Female. 

Louisiana affords abundance of food and pleasant weather to this 
species, for nearly four months of the year, as the Cedar Birds reach 
that State abovit the beginning of November, and retire towards the 
Middle Districts in the beginning of March. The Holly, the Vines, 
the Persimon, the Pride-of-China, and various other trees, supply them 
with plenty of berries and fruits, on which they fatten, and become so 
tender and juicy as to be sought by every epicure for the table. I have 
known an instance of a basketful of these little birds having been for- 
warded to New Orleans as a Christmas present. The donor, however, 
was disappointed in his desire to please his friend in that city, for it was 
afterwards discovered that the steward of the steamer, in which they were 
shipped, made pies of them for the benefit of the passengers. 

The appetite of the Cedar Bird is of so extraordinary a nature as to 
prompt it to devour every fruit or berry that comes in its way. In this 
manner they gorge themselves to such excess as sometimes to be unable 
to fly, and suffer themselves to be taken by the hand. Indeed I have 
seen some which, although wounded and confined in a cage, have eaten 
of apples until suffocation deprived them of life in the course of a few 
days. When opened afterwards, they were found to be gorged to the 

It is a beautiful bird, but without any song, even during the breed- 
ing season, having only a note which it uses for the purpose of calling or 
rallying others of its species. This note is feeble, and as it were lisping, 
yet perfectly effectual, for when uttered by one in a flock within hearing 
of another party, the latter usually check their flight, and alight pell- 
mell on the same tree. 

Their flight is easy, continued, and often performed at a considerable 
height. The birds move in close bodies, sometimes amounting to large 
flocks, making various circumvolutions before they alight, and then com- 
ing doAvn in such numbers together as to seem to be touching each other. 

At this particular moment, or while performing their evolutions, some 



dozens may be killed at a single shot ; but if this opportunity is lost, 
the next moment after they alight, the whole group is in motion, dispers- 
ino- over every bough to pick the berries which attracted them from the 
air. Their crest is now erected, their wings are seen constantly moving, 
and so eagerly do they grasp at the berries that they suffer many of them 
to fall. Every flock passing within hearing is invited to join in the 
feast, and in a few hours the tree is entirely stripped of its fruit. In 
this manner they search the whole of the forests, and towards winter are 
even satisfied with the berries of the Dog-wood. As the cherries and 
mulberries ripen in the Middle Districts, the Cedar Bird pays them 
frequent visits, and when these are out of season, the blackberries and 
huckleberries have their turn. After this, the Cedars supply a new 
and favourite food. I think the name of Fruit-dcvotirers would be more- 
applicable to these birds than that of Chatterers, which they bear among 

They are excellent fly-catchers also, spending much of their time in 
the pursuit of \vinged insects. This is by way of dessert, and is not ma- 
naged with the vivacity or suddenness of true Fly-catchers, but with a 
kind of listlessness. They start from the branches, and give chase to the 
insects, ascending after them for a few yards, or move horizontally to- 
wards them, perhaps rather farther than when ascending, and as soon as 
the prey is secured, return to the spot, where they continue watching 
with slow motions of the head. Towards evening, this amusement is 
carried on for half an hour, or an hour at a time, and is continued 
longer at the approach of autumn, the berries then becoming scarcer. 

These birds come from the north, but the furthest place from which 
they have started I am unable to tell. They reach the Middle Districts 
about the beginning of April, and begin to pair in the beginning of 
June, when thousands of young birds of other species have already 
left the nest. Their favourite place for their nest is generally the branch 
of an Apple-tree in the Orchard, its horizontal direction being apparent- 
ly best adapted for their taste, although here they are frequently very 
insecure, the nest being seldom higher than ten feet from the ground, and 
often so low as to be seen into. It is composed of coarse grasses exter- 
nally, and is Uned with a finer kind. The female usually lays four eggs, 
of a purplish white, marked with black spots, which are larger towards 
the great end. The young are at first fed on insects, but after a week 
the parents procure different kinds of fruits for them. The Cedar Bird 


nestles less frequently in the low lands than it does in the upper parts of the 
country, preferring the immediate neighbourhood of mountains. These 
birds are more careful of themselves during the intrusion of strangers to 
their nest, than perhaps any other species, and sneak off, in a very unpa- 
rental manner, quite out of sight, without ever evincing the least appear- 
ance of sorrow on the occasion. I have not been able to ascertain whe- 
ther they raise more than one brood in a season. 

When wounded by a shot, they fall to the ground as if dead, and re-> 
main there in a stiffened posture, as if absolutely stupid. When taken 
up in the hand, they merely open their bill, without ever attempting to 
bite, and wiU suffer a person to carry them in the open hand, without 
endeavouring to make off. Their crest at such times is laid flat and 
close to the head. It is lowered or raised at the will of the bird, but 
more usually stands erect. Their plumage is silky. The females do 
not exhibit the waxen appendages on the wings so soon as the males ; but 
these appendages form no criterion as to the sex. I have seen males and 
females with them, both at the extremities of the scapulars and tail- 
feathers, seldom more than two or three attached to the latter, whilst 
there were five or six at the former. Very few of these birds remain the 
whole winter in the Middle States. 

Now, kind reader, can you give a reason why these birds are so tardy 
in laying their eggs and rearing their young ? It cannot be through 
want of fruit for the food of their progeny, as the young birds, being at 
first fed on insects, might continue to be so, at a season when these 
abound, and as the old birds themselves evince pleasure at seizing them 
on the wing on all occasions. 

BoMBYCiLLA CAROLiNENSis, Br'xss. vol. ii. p. 337-— CA. Bo7iaparte, Synops. of Birds 

of the United States, p. 59. 
Ampelis garrulus, var. Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 291.— Lath. Ind. Ornith. 

vol. i. p. 364. 
Chatterer of Carolina, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 93. 
Cedar Bird, Ampelis Americana, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 107. Fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate XLIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, straightish, broader than deep at the base, compressed to- 
wards the end ; upper mandible convex in its dorsal outline, with the 
edges sharp, overlapping, and marked with a notch close upor the decli- 


nate, acute tip ; lower mandible nearly straight, a little bulging toward 
the end. Nostrils basal, oval, partially concealed by the recumbent 
feathers. Head a;nd neck of ordinary size. Body bulky. Legs rather 
short ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate ; toes scutellate above, 
the outer toe united at the base to the middle one, the inner shorter than 
the outer ; claws arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft and silky; an erectile tuft on the head. 
Wings rather long, the first quill longest. Tail slightly rounded, of 
twelve straight, broad feathers. 

Bill, eyes, and feet, brownish-black. A black band on the forehead, 
passing backwards, tapering behind the eye, to the occiput, and margined 
above and below by a narrow white band. Head, neck, and breast yel- 
lowish-brown, or fawn colour, fading into yellow on the abdomen, and 
yeUowish-white under the tail. Chin black. Back and wing-coverts 
greyish-brown, passing on the lower back into light bluish-grey, of which 
colour are the tail-coverts. Quills brownish-black, some of the secon- 
daries tipped with a small flat, oblong appendage, of the colour of red 
sealing-wax. Of these appendages there are also frequently some on the 
tail, which is greyish at the base, passing into brownish-black, and ter- 
minated by a band, of pale yellow. 

Length 6| inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge ^, along 
the gap I ; tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate XLIII. Fig. 2. 

The female is slightly smaller, and in external appearance differs 
from the male only in being a little lighter in the tints of the plumage, 
and in having the crest shorter. The waxen appendages also occur in 
the female. 

The Red Cedar. 

JuNiPERUs VIRGINIANA, Willd. Sp. PL vol. iv. p. 863. Mich. Arbr. Forest, de 
I'Amer. Septent. vol. iii. p. 42. PL 5. — Dkecia Monadelphia, Linn. Co- 

KIFERi£, JllSS. 

Tliis plant is very generally distributed in the United States, and fre- 
quently attains a height of from forty to fifty feet, with a diameter of a 


foot or fifteen inches at the base. It is distinguished by its ternate leaves, 
which are adnate at the base, and imbricated. The berries are oval, 
small, and of a bluish colour. The wood is red, close-grained, very du- 
rable, and has a strong scent. Its growth is extremely slow, and this 
circumstance, together with the great destruction of the tree for various 
purposes, has rendered it difficult to procure cedar- wood of tolerable size 
in the more accessible parts of the country. 

( -^3^ ) 


Tanagra estiva, Gmel. 

PLATE XLIV. Adult Male, Young Male, and Female. 

This beautiful species is destitute of song, and is of solitary habits, 
preferring at all times the interior of the forests, but not the densest 
parts of them. I have observed that woods interspersed with what are 
called scrubby hickories or stunted oaks, are favourite resorts of the 
Summer Red Birds. 

Their residence in the United States scarcely exceeds four months. 
None remain in any of the more southern parts of our districts. Indeed, 
by the middle of September, it would be difficult to see a single pair in 
the forests of Louisiana. So very tender do they seem to be in regard to 
cold, or even temperate weather, that they seldom go farther north than 
Boston, or the shores of Lake Erie, but prefer the sandy woodlands all 
along the eastern shores, as far as Massachusets. 

Their flight is performed in a gliding manner when passing through 
the woods, generally amidst the top branches of trees. Whilst migrat- 
ing, they rise high above the trees, and pursue their journeys only during 
the day, diving towards dusk into the thickest parts of the foliage of tall 
trees, from which their usual unmusical but well-known notes of chicky- 
cliucky-chuck are heard, after the light of day has disappeared. This 
species feeds principally on insects, and especially coleoptera, some of 
which are often of larger size than a bird of the dimensions of the 
Summer Red Bird might be supposed capable of swallowing. It seldom 
alights on the ground, but prefers pursuing insects on the wing, which it 
frequently does from the dried twigs at the extremity of the branches. 

The construction of the nest of this richly clad species is nearly the 
same in all parts of the Union in which it breeds. It is frequently fixed 
on a branch crossing a road, or an opening of some description, or, if 
in the woods, in some partially cleared space. It is usually placed low 
on a horizontal branch. It is composed externally of dried stalks of 
weeds, and is finished within with fine grass, arranged in a slovenly man- 
ner. It is so insecurely fastened to the branch, that it may be shaken oiF 


by striking the latter smartly. The female lays four or five eggs of a 
light blue colour. The male and female sit upon them alternately for 
twelve days, and are as anxious about their safety as most species. The 
young are seen about the beginning of June, and follow their parents 
until the time of the migration of the latter, which takes place a fort- 
night earlier than that of the young birds. They raise only one brood 
in a season. 

The alterations of plumage which appear in the young birds between 
the period at which they leave the nest, and the ensuing spring, are as 
great as those of the Orchard Oriole. They are at first nearly of the 
colour of the female. The males become a little mottled with dull red- 
dish-orange, towards the time of their departure for the south, the 
females only deepening their tints. Ihe following spring, the male ap- 
pears either spotted all over the body Avith bright red and yellowish- 
green, or only partially so, having sometimes one wing of a greenish hue, 
whilst the other is tinged all over with a dull vermilion tint. All these 
spots and shades of colour gradually disappear, giving place to vermi- 
lion, which, however, is yet dull ; nor is it until the third spring that the 
full brilliancy of the plumage is attained. 

I have several times attempted to raise the young from the nest, but 
in vain. Insects, fruits, and eggs, mixed with boiled meat of various 
kinds, always failed, and the birds generally died in a very few days, 
uttering a dull note, as if elicited by great suffering. The same note is 
emitted by the young in their state of freedom, when, perched on a 
branch, they await the appearance of their parents with their proper 

I liave represented an adult mkle, his mate, and a young bird in its 
singularly patched state, to enable you to judge how different a family 
of these birds must appear to the eye of a person unacquainted with the 
peculiarity of these differences and changes of plumage. 

The Vine on which you see them is usually called the Muscadine. It 
grows everywhere in Louisiana, and the State of Mississippi, and that 
most luxuriantly. In those States you may see vines of this species fif- 
teen inches in diameter near the roots, either entwined round the trunk 
of a large tree, and by this means reaching the top branches and extend- 
ing over them and those of another tree, or, as if by magic, swinging in 
the air, from roots attached at once to some of the uppermost branches. 
In favourable seasons, they are laden with grapes, which hang in small 


clusters from every branch, from which, when they are fully ripe, a good 
shake will make them fall in astonishing quantity. The skin is thick 
and very tough," the pulp glutinous, but so peculiarly flavoured as to be 
very agreeable to the taste. These grapes are eaten by most people, 
although an idea prevails, in Lower Louisiana particularly, that the eat- 
ing of them gives rise to bilious fevers. For my part, I can well say, 
that the more I have eaten of them the better I have found myself; and 
for this reason seldom lost an opportunity of refreshing my palate with 
some of them in all my rambles. I am equally confident, that their juice 
would make an excellent wine. Another absurd opinion prevails in 
Louisiana, which is, that the Common Blackberries, however ripe and 
pleasant, produce boils ; although the country people make use of a 
strong decoction of the root as a cure for dysentery. 

Tanagea iESTivA, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 8S9— Lath. Ind. Om. voL L p. 422.— 
Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 105. 

Summer Tanager, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 820. 

Summer Red Bird, Tanagra estiva, Wtls. Amer. Ornith. voL i. p. 96, PI. vi. 
fig. 3. Male, fig. 4. Female. 

Adult Male. Plate XLIV. Fig. L 

Bill rather short, robust, tapering, compressed, acute ; upper mandi- 
ble a little convex in its dorsal outline, convex on the sides, the acute 
edge slightly notched near the tip, which is a little declinate ; lower 
mandible also a little convex in its dorsal outline, with the edges inflect- 
ed. Nostrils basal, lateral, round. Head large. Body rather long. 
Feet shortish ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, about the length 
of the middle toe ; outer toe united at the base to the middle one ; 
claws arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the 
second qmU longest. Tail slightly emarginate, of twelve acute feathers. 

Bill yellowish-brown above, bluish below. Iris hazel. Feet and 
claws light greyish-blue. The whole plumage is vermilion, brighter on 
the lower parts, excepting the tips and inner webs of the quills, which are 
tinged with brown. 

Length 7^ inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge ^, along 
the gap 1 ; tarsus f . 


Adult Female. Plate XLIV. Fig. 3. 

The general colour "above is light brownish-green, the sides of the 
head and the under parts generally brownish-yellow; larger wing-coverts 
dusky, edged with yellow ; quiUs deep brown, externally margined with 
yellowish-red ; tail-feathers of the same colour. The bill, eyes and legs 
are of the same tints as in the male. 

Dimensions nearly the same. 

Young Male. Plate XLIV. Fig. 2. 
DuU vermilion, spotted with duU green. 

The Wild Muscadine. 

ViTis HOTUNDiFOLiA, Mich. Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 231. Pursh, Flor. Amer. voL i. 
p. 169. — Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. VixEs, Juss. 

Leaves between heart-shaped and kidney-shaped, nearly equally 
toothed, shining on both sides. 

• ( 236 ) 


MvsciCAPA Traillii. 


This is a species which, in its external appearance, is so closely allied 
to the Wood Pewee, and the small Green-crested Fly-catcher, that the 
most careful inspection is necessary to establish the real differences exist- 
ing between these three species. Its notes, however, are perfectly dif- 
ferent, as are, in some measure, its habits, as well as the districts in 
which it resides. 

The notes of Traill's Fly-catcher consist of the sounds ivheet, xvheet, 
which it articulates clearly while on wing. It resides in the skirts of the 
woods along the prairie lands of the Arkansas river, where alone I have 
been able to procure it. When leaving the top branches of a low tree, 
this bird takes long flights, skimming in zigzag lines, passing close over 
the tops of the tall grasses, snapping at and seizing different species of 
winged insects, and returning to the same trees to alight. Its notes, I 
observed, were uttered when on the point of leaving the branch. The 
pair chased the insects as if acting in concert, and doubtless had a nest in 
the immediate neighbourhood, although I was unable to discover it. It 
being in the month of April, I suspected the female had not begun to lay. 
Five of the eggs in the ovary were about the size of green pease. I could 
not perceive any difference in the colouring of the plumage between the 
sexes, and I have represented the male in that inchned and rather crouch- 
ing attitude which I observed the bird always to assume when alighted. 

I have named this species after my learned friend Dr Thomas 
Stewart Traill of Liverpool, in evidence of the gratitude which I 
cherish towards that benevolent gentleman for all his kind attentions to 

The Sweet Gum, on a branch of which I have placed TraiU's Fly- 
catcher, grows in almost every portion of the western and southern dis- 
tricts of the United States. It sometimes attains a great size, but is 
more commonly of moderate stature. Its wood is of little use. This 
tree is frequently found with a cork-like bark protruding in shreds from 
its branches. 


MUSCICAPA Tkaillii. 

Plate XLV. Adult Male, 

Bill of ordinary length, depressed, tapering to a point, the lateral out- 
lines a little convex, very broad at the base ; the gap reaching to nearly 
under the eye ; upper mandible with the edges acute, slightly notched 
close upon the tip, which is a little deflected and acute ; lower mandible 
straight, acute. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical. Head and neck of 
moderate size. Body rather slender. Feet of moderate length, slender ; 
tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with short scutella, and longer than 
the middle toe ; toes free, scutellate above ; claws compressed, arched, 

Plumage soft and tufty ; feathers of the head narrow and erectile. 
Wings of moderate length, third quill longest. Tail longish, slightly 
forked when closed, of twelve rather narrow, obtuse feathers. 

Bill dark brown above, yellow beneath. Iris hazel. Feet brownish- 
black. The general colour of the plumage above is dull brownish-olive, 
the two rows of larger wing-coverts tipped with dull white. Throat 
greyish- white, as is a very narrow space aroimd the eye ; sides of the head 
and neck, and fore part of the breast, coloured like the back, but lighter ; 
the rest of the under parts dull yellowish-white. 

Length 5f inches, extent of wings 8| ; bill along the ridge ^, along 
gap I ; tarsus /g. 

As already mentioned, this species bears a very close resemblance to 
Muscicapa acadica, and M. virens, more especially the former. 

Muscicapa virens has the tail deeply emarginate, whereas in the pre- 
sent species that part is nearly even. The colouring is nearly the same 
in both, but M. virens is considerably larger. 

Muscicapa acadica is also similarly coloured, but in it the whitish 
space about the eye is larger, the throat darker, the breast and abdomen 
lighter. The tail also is quite even. A decided difference exists in the 
bill, which, in place of being convex in its lateral outlines, is a little 


The Sweet Gum. 

LiQuiDAMBAR STYHACIFLUA, Wild. Sp. PI. voL iv. p. 476- PuTsh, FL Amer. vol. ii. 

p. 635. Mich. Arhr. Forest, de I'Amer. Sept. vol. iii. p. 194, Fl. iv Moncecia 

PoLYANDKiA, Linn. Amentace^, Juss. 

This species, wliich is the only one that grows in the United States, 
is distinguished by its palmate leaves, the lobes of which are toothed and 
acuminate, the axils of the nerves downy. In large individuals, the bark 
is deeply cracked. The wood is very hard and fine grained, but is now 
little used, although formerly furniture of various kinds was made of it. 
When the bark is removed, a resinous substance exudes, which has an 
agreeable smell, but is only obtained in very small quantity. 

( 239 ) 


Travelling through the Barrens of Kentucky (of which I shall give 
you an account elsewhere) in the month of November, I was jogging on 
one afternoon, when I remarked a sudden and strange darkness rising 
from the western horizon. Accustomed to our heavy storms of thunder, 
and rain, I took no more notice of it, as I thought the speed of my horse 
might enable me to get under shelter of the roof of an acquaintance, 
who lived not far distant, before it should come up. I had proceeded 
about a mile, when I heard what I imagined to be the distant rumbling 
of a violent tornado, on which I spurred my steed, with a wish to gallop 
as fast as possible to the place of shelter ; but it would not do, the ani- 
mal knew better than I what was forthcoming, and, instead of going fas- 
ter, so nearly stopped, that I remarked he placed one foot after another 
on the ground with as much precaution as if walking on a smooth sheet 
of ice. I thought he had suddenly foundered, and, speaking to him, 
was on the point of dismounting and leading him, when he all of a sud- 
den fell a-groaning piteously, hung his head, spread out his four legs, as 
if to save himself from falling, and stood stock still, continuing to groan. 
I thought my horse was about to die, and would have sprung from his 
back had a minute more elapsed, but at that instant all the shrubs and 
trees began to move from their very roots, the ground rose and fell in 
successive furrows, like the ruflBed waters of a lake, and I became be- 
wildered in my ideas, as I too plaiidy discovered that all this awful com- 
motion in nature was the result of an earthquake. 

I had never witnessed any thing of the kind before, although, like 
every other person, I knew of earthquakes by description. But what is 
description compared with the reality .'* Who can tell of the sensations 
which I experienced when I found myself rocking as it were on my 
horse, and with him moved to and fro like a child in a cradle, with the 
most imminent danger around, and expecting the ground every moment 
to open, and present to my eye such an abyss as might engulf myself 
and all around me ? The fearful convulsion, however, lasted only a few 
minutes, and the heavens again brightened as quickly as they had be- 
come obscured ; my horse brought his feet to the natural position, raised 
his head, and galloped off as if loose and frolicking without a rider. 


I was not, however, without great apprehension respecting my fa- 
mily, from which I was yet many miles distant, fearful that where they 
were the shock might have caused greater havock than I had witnessed. 
I gave the bridle to my steed, and was glad to see him appear as anxious 
to o-et home as myself. The pace at which he galloped accomplished 
this sooner than I had expected, and I found, with much pleasure, that 
hardly any greater harm had taken place than the apprehension excited 
for my own safety. 

Shock succeeded shock almost every day or night for several weeks, 
diminishing, however, so gradually as to dw-indle away into mere vibra- 
tions of the earth. Strange to say, I for one became so accustomed to 
the feeling as rather to enjoy the feai's manifested by others. I never 
can forget the effects of one of the slighter shocks which took place when 
I was at a friend's house, where 1 had gone to enjoy the merriment that, 
in our western country, attends a wedding. The ceremony being per- 
formed, supper over, and the fiddles tuned, dancing became the order of 
the moment. This was merrily followed up to a late hour, when the 
party retired to rest. We were in what is called, with great propriety, 
a Log-house, one of large dimensions, and solidly constructed. The 
owner was a physician, and in one comer were not only his lancets, tour- 
niquets, amputating-knives, and other sanguinary apparatus, but all the 
drugs which he employed for the relief of his patients, arranged in jars 
and phials of different sizes. These had some days before made a narrow 
escape from destruction, but had been fortunately preserved by closing 
the doors of the cases in which they were contained. 

As I have said, we had all retired to rest, some to dream of sighs and 
smiles, and others to sink into oblivion. Morning was fast approaching, 
when the rumbling noise that precedes the earthquake began so loudly, 
as to waken and alarm the whole party, and drive them out of bed in the 
greatest consternation. The scene which ensued it is impossible for me 
to describe, and it would require the humorous pencil of Cruickshank 
to do justice to it. Fear knows no restraints. Every person, old and 
young, filled with alarm at the creaking of the log-house, and appre- 
hending instant destruction, rushed wildly out to the grass enclosure 
fronting the building. The full moon was slowly descending from her 
throne, covered at times by clouds that rolled heavily along, as if to con- 
ceal from her view the scenes of terror which prevailed on the earth be- 
low. On the grass-pla,t we all met, in such condition as rendered it next 


to impossible to discriminate any of the party, all huddled together in a 
state of almost perfect nudity. The earth waved like a field of corn be- 
fore the breeze : the birds left their perches, and flew about not knowing 
whither ; and the Doctor, recollecting the danger of his gallipots, ran to 
his shop-room, to prevent their dancing off the shelves to the floor. 
Never for a moment did he think of closing the doors, but, spreading 
his arms, jumped about the front of the cases, pushing back here and 
there the falling jars ; with so little success, however, that before the 
shock was over, he had lost nearly all he possessed. 

The shock at length ceased, and the frightened females, now sensible 
of their dishabille, fled to their several apartments. The earthquakes 
produced more serious consequences in other places. Near New Madrid, 
and for some distance on the Mississippi, the earth was rent asunder in 
several places, one or two islands sunk for ever, and the inhabitants fled 
in dismay towards the eastern shores. 

( 24'2 ) 



PLATE X1>VI. Male. 

Should you, kind reader, find it convenient or agreeable to visit the 
noble forests existing in the lower parts of the State of Louisiana, about 
the middle of October, when nature, on the eve of preparing for ap- 
proaching night, permits useful dews to fall and rest on every plant, 
with the view of reviving its leaves, its fruits, or its lingering blossoms, 
ere the return of mom ; when every night-insect rises on buzzing wings 
from the ground, and the fire-fly, amidst thousands of other species, ap- 
pears as if purposely to guide their motions through the sombre atmo- 
sphere ; at the moment when numerous reptiles and quadrupeds commence 
their nocturnal prowlings, and the fair moon, empress of the night, rises 
peacefully on the distant horizon, shooting her silvery rays over the 
heavens and the earth, and, like a watchful guardian, moving slowly and 
majestically along; when the husbandman, just returned to his home, 
after the labours of the day, is receiving the cheering gratulations of his 
family, and the wholesome repast is about to be spread out for master 
and servants ahke ; — it is at this moment, kind reader, that were you, as ,/^ 
I have said, to visit that happy country, your ear would suddenly be 
struck by the discordant screams of the Barred Owl. Its whah, xchah, ] 
' whah, whah-aa is uttered loudly, and in so strange and ludicrous a man- 
ner, that I should not be surprised were you, kind reader, when you and 
I meet, to compare these sounds to the affected bursts of laughter which 
you may have heard from some of the fashionable members of our own 
' species. • "^ — — ' 

/ How often, when snugly settled under the boughs of my temporary 
encampment, and preparing to roast a venison steak or the body of a 
squirrel, on a wooden spit, have I been saluted with the exulting bursts 
of this nightly disturber of the peace, that, had it not been for him, 
would have prevailed around me, as well as in my lonely retreat ! How 
often have I seen this nocturnal marauder alight within a few yards of 
me, exposing his whole body to the glare of my fire, and eye me in such 
a curious manner tliat, had it been reasonable to do so, I would gladly 



have invited him to walk in and join me in my repast, that I might have i 
enjoyed the pleasure of forming a better acquaintance with him. The ' 
liveliness of his motions, joined to their oddness, have often made me 
think that his society would be at least as agreeable as that of many of 
y the buffoons we meet with in the world. But as such opportunities of 
forming acquaintance have not existed, be content, kind reader, with the 
imperfect information which I can give you of the habits of this Sancho 
Pan^a of our woods. 

Such persons as conclude, when looking upon owls in the glare of 
day, that they are, as they then appear, extremely duU, are greatly mis- 
taken. Were they to state, like Buffon, that Woodpeckers are miser- 
able beings, they would be talking as incorrectly ; and, to one who might 
have lived long in the woods, they would seem to have lived only in their 

The Barred Owl is found in all those parts of the United States 
which I have visited, and is a constant resident. In Louisiana it seems 
to be more abundant than in any other state. It is almost impossible to 
travel eight or ten miles in any of the retired woods there, without seeing 
several of them even in broad day ; and, at the approach of night, their 
cries are heard proceeding from every part of the forest around the 
plantations. Should the weather be lowering, and indicative of the ap- 
proach of rain, their cries are so multiplied during the day, and especially 
in the evening, and they respond to each other in tones so strange, that 
one might imagine some extraordinary fete about to take place among 
them. On approaching one of them, its gesticulations are seen to be of 
a very extraordinary nature. The position of the bird, which is gene- 
rally erect, is immediately changed. It lowers its head and inclines its 
body, to watch the motions of the person beneath, throws forward the 
lateral feathers of its head, which thus has the appearance of being 
surrounded by a broad ruff, looks towards him as if half blind, and 
moves its head to and fro in so extraordinary a manner, as almost to 
induce a person to fancy that part dislocated from the body. It foUows 
aU the motions of the intruder with its eyes ; and should it suspect any 
treacherous intentions, flies off to a short distance, alighting with its back 
to the person, and immediately turning about with a single jump, to re- 
commence its scrutiny. In this manner, the Barred Owl may be follow- 
ed to a considerable distance, if not shot at, for to haUoo after it does 
not seem to frighten it much. But if shot at and missed, it removes to a 



considerable distance, after which its zohali-wJiali-rdiah is uttered with 
considerable pomposity. This owl will answer the imitation of its own 
sounds, and is frequently decoyed by this means. 

The flight of the Bai'red Ov/i is smooth, light, noiseless, and ca- 
pable of being greatly protracted. I have seen them take their departure 
from a detached grove in a prairie, and pursue a direct course towards 
the skirts of the main forest, distant more than two miles, in broad day- 
light. I have thus followed them with the eye until they were lost in 
the distance, and have reason to suppose that they continued their flight 
until they reached the woods. Once, whilst descending the Ohio, not 
far from the well-known Cave-in-rock, about two hours before sunset, in 
the month of November, I saw a Barred Owl teased by several crows, and 
chased from the tree in which it was. On leaving the tree, it gradually 
rose in the air, in the manner of a Hawk, and at length attained so great 
a height that our party lost sight of it. It acted, I thought, as if it 
had lost itself, now and then describing small circles, and flapping its 
wings quickly, then flying in zigzag lines. This being so uncommon an 
occurrence, I noted it down at the time. I felt anxious to see the bird 
return towards the earth, but it did not make its appearance again. So 
very lightly do they fly, that I have frequently discovered one passing 
over me, and only a few yards distant, by first seeing its shadow on 
the ground, during clear moon-light nights, when not the faintest rustling 
of its wings could be heard. 

Their power of sight during the day seems to be rather of an equi- 
vocal character, as I once saw one alight on the back of a cow, which it 
left so suddenly afterwards, when the cow moved, as to prove to me that 
it had mistaken the object on which it had perched for something else. 
At other times, I have observed that the approach of the grey squirrel 
intimidated them, if one of these animals accidentally jumped on a branch 
close to them, although the Owl destroys a number of them during the 
twilight. It is for this reason, kind reader, that I have represented the 
Barred Owl gazing in amazement at one of the squirrels placed only a 
few inches from him. 

The Barred Owl is a great destroyer of poultry, particularly of 
chickens when half-grown. It also secures mice, young hares, rabbits, 
and many species of small birds, but is especially fond of a kind of frog 
of a brown colour, very common in the woods of Louisiana. I have 
heard it asserted that this bird catches fish, but never having seen it do 


so, and never having found any portion of fish in its stomach, I cannot 
^■ouch for the truth of the report. 

About the middle of March, these Owls begin to lay their eggs. 
This they usually do in the hollows of trees, on the dust of the decom- 
posed wood. At other times they take possession of the old nest of a 
Crow or a Red-tailed Elawk. In all these situations I have found their 
eggs and young. Ihe eggs are of a globular form, pure white, with a 
smooth shell, and are from four to six in number. So far as I have been 
able to ascertain, they rear only one brood in a season. The young, 
like those of all other Owls, are at first covered with a downy substance, 
some of which is seen intermixed with and protruding from the feathers, 
some weeks after the bird is nearly fledged. They are fed by the 
parents for a long time, standing perched, and emitting a hissing noise 
in lieu of a call. This noise may be heard in a calm night, for fifty or 
probably a hundred yards, and is by no means musical To a person 
lost in a swamp, it is, indeed, extremely dismal. 

The plumage of the Barred Owl differs very considerably, in respect 
to colour, in different individuals, more so among the males. The males 
are also smaller than the females, but less so than in some other species 
During the severe winters of our Middle Districts, those that remain 
there suffer very much ; but the greater number, as in some other species, 
remove to the Southern States. When kept in captivity, they prove ex 
cellent mousers. 

The antipathy shewn to Owls by every species of day bird is extreme. 
They are followed and pursued on all occasions ; and although few of 
the day birds ever prove dangerous enemies, their conduct towards the 
Owls is evidently productive of great annoyance to them. When the 
Barred Owl is shot at and wounded, it snaps its bill sharply and fre- 
quently, raises all its feathers, looks towards the person in the most un- 
couth manner, but, on the least chance of escape, moves off in great 
leaps with considerable rapidity. 

The Barred Owl is very often exposed for sale in the New Orleans 
market. The Creoles make gumbo of it, and pronounce the flesh pala- 


Strix nebulosa, &mel. Sjst. Nat. vol. i. p. 291 — Lath. Iiid. Oniith. vol. i. p. 21.— 
Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 38. 

Barred Owl, Strix nebulosa. Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 133 — JFils. Amer. Oniith. 
vol. iv. p. 61. PI. 23. f5g. 2. 

Adult Male. Plate XI.VI. Fig. 1. 

Bill very short, compressed, curved, acute, with a small cere at the 
base ; upper mandible with its dorsal outline curved from the base, the 
edges acute, the point trigonal, very acute, deflected, lower mandible 
with the edges acute and inflected, obtuse at the tip. Nostrils roundish, 
in the fore part of the cere, concealed by the recumbent bristles. Head 
disproportionably large, as are the eyes and external ears. Body short. 
Legs long ; tarsus feathered ; toes feathered at the base, scutellate above, 
papillar and tubercular beneath ; claws curved, slender, rounded, ex- 
tremely sharp. 

Plumage exceedingly soft and downy, somewhat distinct above, tufty 
and loose beneath. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill, stretch- 
ing forwards. Eyes surrounded by several circles of compact feathers ; 
auricular feathers forming a ruff, and with those of the head and neck ca- 
pable of being erected. Wings ample, the fourth quill longest, the first 
short. Tail long, large, rounded, of twelve broad, rounded feathers. 

Bill yellow, the under mandible tinged with blue on the back. Eyes 
black. Toes yellow ; claws bluish-black. The general colour of the up- 
per parts is hght reddish-brown. Face and greater part of the head 
brownish-white, the feathers of the latter broadly marked with brown, of 
which a narrow band passes from the bill along the middle of the head. 
Feathers of the back and most of the wing-coverts largely spotted with 
white. Primary coverts, quiUs, and tail, barred with light brownish-red ; 
wings and tail tipped with greyish-white. Under parts pale brownish- 
red, longitudinally streaked with brown, excepting the neck and upper 
breast, wliich are transversely marked, the abdomen, which is yeUowish- 
white, and the tarsal feathers, which are hght reddish. 

Length 18 inches, extent of wings 40. Bill along the ridge 1^ ; tar- 
sus 2^, middle toe 2. 


The Gkey Squirrel. 
SciURUS ciNEEEUS, Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 173. 

The Grey Squirrel is too well known to require any description. It 
migrates in prodigious numbers, crossing large rivers by swimming with 
its tail extended on the water, and traverses immense tracts of country, in 
search of the places where food is most abundant. During these migra- 
tions, the Squirrels are destroyed in vast quantities. Their flesh is 
white, very deUcate, and affords excellent eating, when the animals are 
young. "In 1749," says Dr Harlan, in the work above referred to, 
" a premium of three pence a-head was offered for their destruction, which 
amounted in one year to L. 8000 Sterling, which is equal to about 
1,180,000 individuals kiUed." 

( 248 ) 


Tmochilus CoLUBRjs, Linn. 
PLATE XLVII. Male, Female, and Young. 

Wherk is the person who, on seeing this lovely little creature mov- 
ing on humming winglets through the air, suspended as if by magic in 
it, flitting from one flower to another, with motions as graceful as they 
are light and airy, pursuing its course over our extensive continent, and 
yielding new delights wherever it is seen ; — where is the person, I ask 
of you, kind reader, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the 
rainbow, would not pause, admire, and instantly turn his mind with re- 
verence toward the Almighty Creator, the wonders of whose hand we at 
every step discover, and of whose sublime conceptions we everywhere ob- 
serve the manifestations in his admirable system of creation ? — There 
breathes not such a person ; so kindly have we all been blessed with that 
intuitive and noble feeling- — admiration I 

No sooner has the returning sun again introduced the vernal season, 
and caused millions of plants to expand their leaves and blossoms to his 
genial beams, than the little Humming Bird is seen advancing on fairy 
wings, carefully visiting every opening flower-cup, and, like a curious 
florist, removing from each the injurious insects that otherwise would ere 
long cause their beauteous petals to droop and decay. Poised in the air, 
it is observed peeping cautiously, and with sparkling eye, into their inner- 
most recesses, whilst the etherial motions of its pinions, so rapid and so 
light, appear to fan and cool the flower, without injuring its fragile tex- 
ture, and produce a delightful murmuring sound, well adapted for lulling 
the insects to repose. Then is the moment for the Humming Bird to 
secure them. Its long delicate bill enters the cup of the flower, and the 
protruded double-tubed tongue, dehcately sensible, and imljued with a 
glutinous saliva, touches each insect in succession, and di-aws it from its 
lurking place, to be instantly swallowed. All this is done in a moment, 
and the bird, as it leaves the flower, sips so small a portion of its liquid 
honey, that the theft, we may suppose, is looked upon with a grateful feei- 
ng by the flower, which is thus kindly relieved from the attacks of her 

The prairies, the fields, the orchards and gardens, nay, the deepest 


shades of the forests, are all visited in their turn, and everywhere the lit- 
tle bird meets with pleasure and with food. Its gorgeous throat in beauty 
and brilliancy baffles all competition. Now it glows with a fiery hue, 
and again it is changed to the deepest velvety black. The upper parts 
of its delicate body are of resplendent changing green ; and it throws itself 
through the air with a swiftness and vivacity hardly conceivable. It 
moves from one flower to another like a gleam of light, upwards, down- 
wards, to the right, and to the left. In this manner, it searches the ex- 
treme northern portions of our country, following with . great precaution 
the advances of the season, and retreats %vith equal care at the approach 
of autumn. 

I wish it were in my power at this moment to impart to you, kind 
reader, the pleasures which I have felt whilst watching the movements, 
and viewing the manifestation of feelings displayed by a single pair of 
these most favourite little creatures, when engaged in the demonstration 
of their love to each other : — how the male swells his plumage and 
throat, and, dancing on the wing, whirls around the delicate female ; how 
quickly he dives towards a flower, and returns with a loaded bill, which 
he offers to her to whom alone he feels desirous of being united ; how full 
of ecstacy he seems to be when his caresses are kindly received ; how his 
little wings fan her, as they fan the flowers, and he transfers to her bill 
the insect and the honey which he has procured with a view to please her ; 
how these attentions are received with apparent satisfaction ; how, soon 
after, the blissful compact is sealed ; how, then, the courage and care of 
the male are redoubled ; how he even dares to give chase to the Tyrant 
Fly-catcher, hurries the blue-Bird and the Martin to their boxes ; and how, 
on sounding pinions, he joyously returns to the side of his lovely mate; 
Reader, all these proofs of the sincerity, fidelity, and courage, with which 
the male assures his mate of the care he will take of her while sittino- on 
her nest, may be seen, and have been seen, but cannot be portrayed or 

Could you, kind reader, cast a momentary glance on the nest of the 
Humming Bird, and see, as I have seen, the newly-hatched pair of young, 
little larger than humble-bees, naked, blind, and so feeble as scarcely 
to be able to raise their little bill to receive food from the parents ; and 
could you see those parents, full of anxiety and fear, passing and repass- 
ing within a few inches of your face, alighting on a twig not more than a 
yard from your body, waiting the result of your unwelcome visit in a 


state of the utmost despair, — you could not fail to be impressed with the 
deepest pangs which parental affection feels on the unexpected death of a 
cherished child. Then how pleasing is it, on your leaving the spot, to 
see the returning hope of the parents, when, after examining the nest, 
they find their nurslings untouched ! You might then judge how pleas- 
ing it is to a mother of another kind, to hear the physician who has at- 
tended her sick child assure her that the crisis is over, and that her babe 
is saved. These are the scenes best fitted to enable us to partake of sor- 
row and joy, and to determine every one who views them to make it his 
study to contribute to the happiness of others, and to refrain from wanton- 
ly or maliciously giving them pain. 

I have seen Humming Birds in Louisiana as early as the 10th of 
March. Their appearance in that State varies, however, as much as in 
any other, it being sometimes a fortnight later, or, although rarely, a few 
days earlier. In the Middle Districts, they seldom arrive before the 15th 
of April, more usually the beginning of May. I have not been able to 
assure myself whether they migrate during the day or by night, but am 
inclined to think the latter the case, as they seem to be busily feeding at all 
times of the day, which would not be the case had they long flights to per- 
form at that period. They pass through the air in long undulations, raising 
themselves for some distance at an angle of about 40 degrees, and then 
falling in a curve ; but the smallness of their size precludes the possibility 
of following them farther then fifty or sixty yards without great difficulty, 
even with a good glass. A person stantiing in a garden by the side of a 
Common Althaea in bloom, wiU be as surprised to hear the humming of 
their wings, and then see the birds themselves within a few feet of him, 
as he will be astonished at the rapidity with which the little creatures rise 
into the air, and are out of sight and hearing the next moment. They 
do not alight on the ground, but easily settle on twigs and branches, where 
they move sidewise in prettily measured steps, frequently opening and 
closing their wings, pluming, shaking and arranging the whole of their 
apparel with neatness and activity. They are particularly fond of spread- 
ing one wing at a time, and passing each of the quiU-feathers through 
their bill in its whole length, when, if the sun is shining, the wing thus 
plumed is rendered extremely transparent and light. They leave the 
twig without the least difficulty in an instant, and appear to be possessed 
of superior powers of vision, making directly towards a Martin or a Blue- 
bird when fifty or sixty yards from them, and reaching them before they 


are aware of their approach. No bird seems to resist their attacks, but 
they are sometimes chased by the larger kinds of humble-bees, of which 
they seldom take the least notice, as their superiority of flight is sufficient 
to enable them to leave these slow moving insects far behind in the short 
space of a minute. 

The nest of this Humming Bird is of the most delicate nature, the ex- 
ternal parts being formed of a light grey lichen found on the branches of 
trees, or on decayed fence-rails, and so neatly arranged round the whole 
nest, as well as to some distance from the spot where it is attached, as to 
seem part of the branch or stem itself. These little pieces of lichen are 
glued together with the saliva of the bird. The next coating consists of 
cottony substance, and the innermost of silky fibres obtained from various 
plants, all extremely delicate and soft. On this comfortable bed, as in 
contradiction to the axiom that the smaller the species the greater the 
number of eggs, the female lays only two, which are pure white and al- 
most oval. Ten days are required for their hatching, and the birds raise 
two broods in a season. In one week the young are ready to fly, but are 
fed by the parents for nearly another week. They receive their food di- 
rectly from the biU of their parents, which disgorge it in the manner of 
Canaries or Pigeons. It is my belief that no sooner are the young able 
to provide for themselves than they associate with other broods, and per- 
form their migration apart from the old birds, as I have observed twenty 
or thirty young Humming Birds resort to a group of Trumpet-flowers^ 
when not a single old male was to be seen. They do not receive the full 
brilliancy of their colours until the succeeding spring, although the throat 
of the male bird is strongly imbued with the ruby tints before they leave 
us in autumn. 

The Ruby-throated Humming Bird has a particular liking for such 
flowers as are greatly tubular in their form. The Common Jimpson-weed 
or Thorn-apple {Datura Stramonium) and the Trumpet-flower {Bignonia 
radicans) are among the most favoured by their visits, and after these. 
Honeysuckle, the Balsam of the gardens, and the wild species which grows 
on the borders of ponds, rivulets, and deep ravines ; but every flower, down 
to the wild violet, affords them a certain portion of sustenance. Their food 
consists principally of insects, generally of the coleopterous order, these, 
together with some equally diminutive flies, being commonly found in their 
stomach. The first are procured within the flowers, but many of the lat- 
ter on wing. The Humming Bird might therefore be looked upon as an ex- 


pert fly-catcher. The nectar or honey which they sip from the different 
flowers, being of itself insufficient to support them, is used more as if to 
allay their thirst. I have seen many of these birds kept in partial confine- 
ment, when they were supplied with artificial flowers made for the pur- 
pose, in the corollas of which water with honey or sugar dissolved in it 
was placed. The birds were fed on these substances exclusively, but sel- 
dom lived many months, and on being examined after death, were found 
to be extremely emaciated. Others, on the contrary, which were supplied 
twice Hr-day with fresh flowers from the woods or garden, placed in a room 
with windows merely closed with moschetto gauze-netting, through which 
minute insects were able to enter, lived twelve months, at the expiration 
of which time their hberty was granted them, the person who kept them 
having had a long royage to perform. The room was kept artificially 
warm during the winter months, and these, in Lower Louisiana, are sel- 
dom so cold as to produce ice. On examining an orange-tree which had 
been placed in the room where these Humming Birds were kept, no ap- 
pearance of a nest was to be seen, although the birds had frequently been 
observed caressing each other. Some have been occasionally kept con- 
fined in our Middle Districts, but I have not ascertained that any one sur- 
vived a winter. 

The Humming Bird does not shun mankind so much as birds gene- 
rally do. It frequently approaches flowers in the windows, or even in 
rooms when the windows are kept open, during the extreme heat of the 
day, and returns, when not interrupted, as long as the flowers are unfaded. 
They are extremely abundant in Louisiana during spring and summer, 
and wherever a fine plant of the trumpet-flower is met with in the woods, 
one or more Humming Birds are generally seen about it, and now and 
then so many as ten or twelve at a time. They are quarrelsome, and have 
frequent battles in the air, especially the male birds. Should one be 
feeding on a flower, and another approach it, they are both immediately 
seen to rise in the air, twittering and twirling in a spiral manner until out 
of sight. The conflict over, the victor immediately returns to the flower. 

If comparison might enable you, kind reader, to form some tolerably 
accurate idea of their peculiar mode of flight, and their appearance when 
on wing, I would say, that were both objects of the same colour, a large 
sphinx or moth, when moving from one flower to another, and in a direct 
line, comes nearer the Humming Bird in aspect than any other object with 
which I am acquainted. 


Having heard several persons remark that these little creatures had 
been procured with less injury to their plumage, by shooting them with 
water, I was tempted to make the experiment, having been in the habit 
of killing them either with remarkably small shot, or with sand. How- 
ever, finding that even when within a few paces, I seldom brought one to 
the ground when I used water instead of shot, and was moreover obliged 
to clean my gun after every discharge, I abandoned the scheme, and feel 
confident that it can never have been used with material advantage. I 
have frequently secured some by employing an insect-net, and were this 
machine used with dexterity, it would afford the best means of procuring 
Humming Birds. 

I have represented ten of these pretty and most interesting birds, in 
various positions, flitting, feeding, caressing each other, or sitting on the 
slender stalks of the trumpet-flower and pluming themselves. The diver- 
sity of action and attitude thus exhibited, may, I trust, prove sufficient to 
present a faithful idea of their appearance and manners. A figure of the 
nest you will find elsewhere. The nest is generally placed low, on the 
horizontal branch of any kind of tree, seldom more than twenty feet from 
the ground. They are far from being particular in this matter, as I have 
often found a nest attached by one side only to a twig of a rose-bush, 
currant, or the strong stalk of a rank weed, sometimes in the middle of the 
forest, at other times on the branch of an oak, immediately over the road, 
and again in the garden close to the walk. 

Trochilus CoLrBHis, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 191 Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 312 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 98. 
Red-thkoated Humming Bird, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 769. 
Humming Bird, Trochilus Colubris, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 26. PI. 10. 

fig. 3. Male ; fig. 4. Female. 

Adult Male. Plate XLVII. Fig. 1, 1, 1, 1. 

Bill long, straight, subulate, depressed at the base, acute; upper 
mandible rounded, its edges overlapping. Nostrils basal, linear. Tongue 
very extensile, filiform, divided towards the end into two filaments. Feet 
very short and feeble ; tarsus slender, shorter than the middle toe, partly 
feathered ; fore toes united at the base ; claws curved, compressed, acute. 

Plumage compact, imbricated above and on the throat, with metallic 
lustre, blended beneath. Wings long, narrow, a little incurved at the 


tip, the first quill longest. Tail forked when closed, when spread even 
in the middle and laterally rounded, of ten broad feathers, the outer cur- 
ved inwards. 

Bill and feet black. Iris of the same colour. Upper parts generally, 
including the two middle tail-feathers, green, with gold reflections. Quills 
and tail purplish-brown. Throat, sides of the head, and fore neck, car- 
mine-purple, spotted with black, varying to crimson, orange, and deep 
black. Sides of the same colour as the back ; the rest of the under pai-ts 
greyish-white, mixed with green. 

Length 85 inches, extent of wings 4^ ; bill along the ridge f , along 
the gap § ; tarsus ^, toe ^. 

Adult Female. Plate XLVII. Fig. 2, 2, 2. 

The female differs from the male in wanting the brilUant patch on the 
throat, which is white, as are the under parts generally, and in haying the 
three lateral tail-feathers tipped Avith the same colour. 

Dimensions the same. 

Young Bird. Plate XLVII. Fig. 3, 3. 

The young birds have the under parts brownish- white, the tail tipped 
with white, and are somewhat lighter in their upper parts. In autumn 
the young males begin to acquire the red feathers of the throat. 

The Trumpet-flower. 

BiGNONiA RADiCANS, Wild. Sp. PI. vol. iii. p. 301. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. ii. 
p. 420.— DiDYNAMiA Angiosfermia, Linn. Bignoni^, Jms. 

This splendid species of Bignonia, which grows in woods and on the 
banks of rivers in all the Middle and Southern States, climbing on trees 
and bushes, is distinguished by its pinnate leaves, v/ith ovate, widely ser- 
rate, acuminate leaflets, and large scarlet flowers, of which the funnel- 
shaped tube of the corolla is thrice the length of the calyx. The pods are 
of a brown colour, from four to seven inches long, and contain a double 
row of kidney-shaped light brown seeds. 

( 255 ) 


Sylvij jzurea, Steph. 
PLATE XLVIII. Male and Female. 

So scarce is this bird in the Middle Districts, that its discovery in the 
State of Pennsylvania has been made a matter of much importance. Its 
habits are consequently very little known, even at the present day, and 
it would appear that only two individuals have been seen by our Ame- 
rican ornithologists, one of which, a yoimg female, has been figured by 
the Prince of Musignano. 

It arrives in the lower parts of the State of Louisiana, in company 
with many other species of Warblers, breeds there and sets out again 
about the beginning of October. It is as lively as most species of its ge- 
nus, possesses the same manner of flight, moves sidewise up and down 
the branches and twigs, frequently changing sides, and hangs to the ex- 
tremities of bunches of leaves or berries, on which it procures the insects 
and larvae of which its food is principally composed. The liveliness of 
its notes renders it conspicuous in those parts of the skirts of the forests 
which it frequents ; and its song, although neither loud nor of long con- 
tinuance, is extremely sweet and mellow. 

I have no precise recollection of the time when I first made a draw- 
ing of this pretty little bird, but know this well, that a drawing which I 
had of it was one of the unfortunate collection destroyed by the rats at 
Henderson. In Louisiana, where it is as numerous as other Sylvias, I 
have several times shot five or six during a single walk, towards the end 
of August, when the young are nearly fuU coloured. 

The nest is placed in the forks of a low tree or bush, more frequently 
on a Dog-wood tree. It is partly pensile, projecting a little above the 
twigs to which it is attached, and extending below them for nearly two 
inches. The fibres of vines and of the stalks of rank herbaceous plants, 
together with slender roots, compose the outer part, being arranged in a 
circular manner. The lining consists entirely of the dry fibres of the 
Spanish Moss. The female lays four or five eggs, of a pure white co- 
lour, with a few reddish spots at the larger end. When the female is 
disturbed during incubation, she trails along the twigs and branches. 


with expanded tail and drooping wings, and utters a plaintive note, re- 
sembling in air these circumstances the Blue-eyed Warbler. I am not 
sure that they raise more than one brood in a season. When the young 
abandon the nest, their plumage partakes of a greenish tinge, and no dif- 
ference can be perceived between the sexes without dissection. The little 
family move and hunt together, and exhibit much pleasure in pursuing 
smaU insects on wing, which they seize without any clicking sound of 
their bill. They seem at this period to evince a great partiality for 
trees the tops of which are thickly covered by grape vines, amongst the 
broad leaves of which they find ample supplies of food. They also some- 
times alight on the tall weeds, and pick a few of their seeds. The males 
or females do not assume the full brilliancy of their plumage until the 
following spring. 

I am inclined to think that this species is extremely abundant in the 
Mexican dominions, as I have observed these birds more numerous to- 
wards Natchitochez and along the waters of the Red River. On the 
other hand, I have not observed it eastward of the State of Tenessee. 

The twig on which it is represented, belongs to a small tree or shrub, 
which grows along the skirts of the forests in the State of Louisiana. 
The bark is easily stripped off, when the wood shews a yellow, resinous 
colovir. It is brittle, and is not applied to any use. The berries are 
eaten by different species of birds. 

STtviA AZUREA, Stephens, Cont. Shaw's Zool. vol. i. p. 653 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. 

of Birds of the United States, p. 85 ; and Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 27. PI. xL 

Fig. 2. Young female. 
CffiHULEAN Warbleh, Sylvia coerulea, Wilson, Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 141. 

PI. xvii. fig. 5. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate XLVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, straight, much broader than deep at the base, 
tapering, compressed toward the acute tip. Nostrils basal, oval, exposed. 
Head of ordinary size. Body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, 
slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, 
acute behind, scarcely longer than the middle toe ; toes free, scutellate 
above ; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute. 

Plvmiage soft and blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the 
first and second quills longest. Tail longish, even, of twelve rather nar- 



row, obtuse feathers. Short bristle-pointed feathers at the base of the 
upper mandible. 

Bill bluish-black. Iris blackish-brown. Feet blue. Head and up- 
per parts generally, of a fine rich blue, the back marked with longitu- 
dinal streaks of blackish, and a narrow band of black from the forehead 
passing along the lore to behind the eye. Tips of the two rows of larger 
wing-coverts white, forming two conspicuous bands across the wing. 
Quills black, externally margined with blue. Tail of the same colour, 
each feather having a patch of white on the inner web, near the end, ex- 
cepting the two middle ones ; all externally margined with blue. Under 
parts white, as well as a streak over the eye, above which is a streak of 

Length 4^ inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge x%, along 
the gap y*^ ; tarsus f , middle toe /g. 

Adult Female. Plate XLVIII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs from the male, chiefly in having the colours paler. 

The Bear-berry. 

Ilex Dahoon, Mich. Fl. Amer. voL ii. p. 228. Pursh. Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 117- 
— Teteandria Tetragynia, Linn. Rhamni, Juss. 

This species of Holly is distinguished by its elliptico-lanceolate leaves, 
which are thick, leathery, shining, and reflected at the margin, and its 
corymboso-paniculate, lateral and terminal peduncles. The berries are 
globular and bright red. 

( 258 ) 


Syl via rarj, Wils. 


The Blue-green Warbler so resembles the young of the Azure War- 
bler, that were not the form of its bill, and some of its habits, consider- 
ably different, I should be tempted to consider it a mere variety of that 
bird. It is equally rare in the Middle Districts, where I have shot only 
a few, and these in the dark recesses of the G reat Pine Swamp. 

On its passage through the States, it is found in Louisiana, where it 
appears in the beginning of April. This lateness of its arrival indicates 
its coming from a great distance, most of the other species appearing 
several weeks earlier. They seem to disperse soon after, as on their first 
appearance several may be procured in one day, as well as during their 
equally short stay in autumn, when, again, I have shot six or seven from 
a single tree, on which they appeared as busily engaged as if so many Tit- 
mice. I have met with them singly and far apart in Kentucky, in Ohio, 
upon the Missouri, and along Lake Erie, but I have never found their nest. 
In spring it has a soft and mellow song, which is not heard beyond 
the distance of a few paces. It is performed at intervals between the 
times at which the bird secures an insect, which it does with great ex- 
pertness, either on wing, or amongst the leaves of the trees and bushes. 
The tops of trees, however, appear to please them best, the reverse being 
the case with the Azure Warbler. 

The Blue-green Warbler has a peculiar cunning manner of leaning 
downwards to view a person, or while searching for an insect, and which 
is very different from that of any other bird, although I am unable to 
describe it. While thus leaning, it moves its head sidewise so very 
slowly that the motion is hardly perceptible, unless much attention is 
paid to it. After this, it either starts off and flies to some distance from 
the observer, or darts towards the prey that had attracted its notice. 
While catching an insect on the wing, it produces a shght cUcking sound 
with its bill, and in this respect approaches the Vireos. Like some of 
them also, it descends from the highest tops of the trees to low bushes, and 
eats small berries, particularly towards autumn, when insects begin to fail. 
Its flight is performed in zigzag lines of a few yards, as if it were 


undetermined where to alight. I have found no difference between the 
sexes as to external appearance. 

The plant on which I have figured a male is found in Louisiana, 
growing along the skirts of woods and by fences. It is called the Spa- 
nish Mulberry. It is a herbaceous perennial plant, attaining a height of 
from four to eight feet. The fruits are eaten by children, but are insipid. 

Sylvia rara, Blue-gheen Warbler, Wils. Aiwev. Ornith. vol. iii.'p. 119. PI. 2?. 
f]g. 2 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 82. 

Adult Male. Plate XLIX. 

BiU longish, nearly straight, depressed at the base, tapering to a 
point. Nostrils basal, oval, half concealed by the feathers. Head and 
neck of ordinary size. Body ovate. Feet of ordinary length, rather 
slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, 
acute behind, rather longer than the middle toe ; toes scutellate above, 
free ; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft and tufty. Wings longish, little curved, the 
first and second quills longest. Tail shortish, romided, of twelve rather 
acute feathers. 

Bill dark brown above, light blue beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet 
light blue. General colour of the upper parts light greenish-blue, of the 
under parts white. A white streak over the eyes. Tips of the two first 
rows of wing-coverts white, forming two bands across the wing. Quills 
blackish-brown, their outer margins blue. Tail blackish-brown, the outer 
feathers having a white patch on the inner web near the end. 

Length 4<f inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge |, along 
the gap \ ; tarsus f . 

The Spanish Mulberry. 

Callicarpa AMERICANA, WilM. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 619. Pursh, FL Amer. vol. i. 
p. 97 Tetrandria Monogynia, Linn. Vitices, Juss. 

A perennial herbaceous plant, with oval, serrate leaves, which are 
downy beneath ; sessile cymes of red flowers, and globular red berries, 
arranged apparently in dense whorls. It grows in dry gravelly or sandy 
soil, in Virginia, Carolina, and Louisiana. 

II 2 

( 260 ) 


Sylvia maculosa, Lath. 

PLATE L. YouKG Male. 

This little bird was by mistake engraved, and named after my friend 
W. SwAiNsoN, Esq., during my absence from London, one drawing 
having been accidentally substituted for another. It is in reality the 
young of the Black and Yellow Warbler, and was intended to form part 
of the Plate which will represent the adult male and female of that spe- 
cies. My good friend will, I know, excuse this mistake, as I have 
honoured a beautiful new species with his name. 

It being more consistent with my present arrangement to give a full 
account of each species, as it is represented in the Plate allotted to it, 
and its different states of plumage, as much as this object .can be attained, 
you will permit me, kind reader, to postpone the habits of this species un- 
til you see the whole group together. In the mean time, I shall confine 
myself to a description of the immature state of plumage as represented 
in my illustrations. 

Sylvia maculosa, Lath. Ind. Omith. vol. iL p. 536. — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of 

Birds of the United States, p. 78. 
Yellow-rumped Warbler, Lath. Synops. voL iv. p. 481. 
Black and Yellow AVarbler, Sylvia magnolia, WUs. Americ. Omith. vol. iii. 

p. 63. PL 23, Male. 

Young Male. Plate L. 

Bill brown above, brownish-yellow beneath. Iris dark hazel. Feet 
brownish-yellow, claws yellow. Head and hind-neck light greyish-blue, 
blending into yellowish-green on the back, the lower part of which is 
spotted with black ; a broad band across the rump yellow, the upper 
tail-coverts black. Wings bluish-grey when closed, the outer webs being 
of that colour, the inner brownish-black ; tips of the two larger rows of 
coverts white, forming two bands of that colour. Tail black, with a 
broad band of white in the middle, on the inner webs, excepting on the 
two middle feathers, which are margined with blue, the outer webs of the 
other feathers being bluish-white ; the under parts are ochre-yellow, the 


posterior part of the breast and sides spotted with black. Length 5 
inches, extent of wings 7^. 

The White Oak. 

QuERCUS PRiNus, Willd.] Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 439. Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 633 — 
QuERCus PRINUS PALUSTRis, Mich. Arhi. Forest, de TAmer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 51. 
PL 7- — MONCECIA POLYANDRIA, Linti, Amentace^, Juss. 

Leaves oblongo-oval, acute, largely toothed, the teeth nearly equal, 
dilated, and callous at the tip ; cupule craterate, attenuated at the base ; 
acorn ovate. This species grows in low shady woods, and along the 
margins of rivers, from Pennsylvania to Florida. The wood is porous, 
and of inferior quality. 

( 262 ) 


Various portions of our country have at different periods suffered 
severely from the influence of violent storms of wind, some of which have 
been known to traverse nearly the whole extent of the United States, and 
to leave such deep impressions in their wake as will not easily be forgot- 
ten. Having witnessed one of these awful phenomena, in all its grandeur, 
I shall attempt to describe it for your sake, kind reader, and for your 
sake only, the recollection of that astonishing revolution of the etherial 
element even now bringing with it so disagreeable a sensation, that I feel 
as if about to be affected by a sudden stoppage of the circulation of my 

I had left the village of Shawaney, situated on the banks of the Ohio, 
on my return from Henderson, which is also sitviated on the banks of the 
same beautiful stream. The weather was pleasant, and I thought not 
warmer than usual at that season. My horse was jogging quietly along, 
and my thoughts were, for once at least in the course of my life, entirely 
engaged in commercial specvilations. I had forded Highland Creek, and 
was on the eve of entering a tract of bottom land or valley that lay be- 
tween it and Canoe Creek, when on a sudden I remarked a great differ- 
ence in the aspect of the heavens. A hazy thickness had overspread the 
covmtry, and I for some time expected an earthquake, but my horse ex- 
hibited no propensity to stop and prepare for such an occurrence. I had 
nearly arrived at the verge of the valley, when I thought fit to stop near 
a brook, and dismounted to quench the thirst which had come upon me. 
I was leaning on my knees, with my lips about to touch the water, 
when, from my proximity to the earth, I heard a distant murmuring 
sound of an extraordinary nature. I drank, however, and as I rose on 
my feet, looked toward the south-west, where I observed a yellowish oval 
spot, the appearance of which was quite new to me. Little time was left 
me for consideration, as the next moment a smart breeze began to agitate 
the taller trees. It increased to an unexpected height, and already the 
smaller branches and twigs were seen falUng in a slanting direction to- 
wards the ground. Two minutes had scarcely elapsed, when the whole 
forest before me was in fearful motion. Here and there, where one tree 
pressed against another, a creaking noise was produced, similar to that 


occasioned by the violent gusts which sometimes sweep over the country. 
Turning instinctively toward the direction from wliich the wind blew, I 
saw, to my great astonishment, that the noblest trees of the forest bent 
their lofty heads for a while, and unable to stand against the blast, were 
falling into pieces. First, the branches were broken off with a crackhng 
noise ; then went the upper part of the massy trunks ; and in many places 
whole trees of gigantic size were falling entire to the ground. So rapid 
was the progress of the storm, that before I could think of taking mea- 
sures to insure my safety, the hurricane was passing opposite the place 
Avhere I stood. Never can I forget the scene which at that moment pre- 
sented itself The tops of the trees were seen moving in the strangest 
manner, in the central current of the tempest, which carried along with it 
a mingled mass of twigs and foliage, that completely obscured the view. 
Some of the largest trees were seen bending and writhing under the gale ; 
others suddenly snapped across ; and many, after a momentary resistance, 
fell uprooted to the earth. The mass of branches, twigs, foliage and dust 
that moved through the air, was whirled onwards like a cloud of feathers, 
and on passing, disclosed a wide spare filled with fallen trees, naked 
stumps, and heaps of shapeless ruins, which marked the path of the tem- 
pest. This space was about a fourth of a mile in breadth, and to my 
imagination resembled the dried-up bed of the Mississippi, with its 
thousands of planters and sawyers, strewed in the sand, and inchned in 
various degrees. The horrible noise resembled that of the great cataracts 
of Niagara, and as it howled along in the track of the desolating tempest, 
produced a feeling in my mind which it were impossible to describe. 

The principal force of the hurricane was now over, although milKons 
of twigs and small branches, that had been brought from a great distance, 
were seen following the blast, as if drawn onwards by some mysterious 
power. They even floated in the air for some hours after, as if supported 
by the thick mass of dust that rose high above the ground. The sky had 
now a greenish lurid hue, and an extremely disagreeable sulphureous 
odour was diffused in the atmosphere. I waited in amazement, having 
sustained no material injury, until nature at length resumed her wonted 
aspect. For some moments, I felt undetermined whether I should return 
to Morgantown, or attempt to force my way through the wrecks of the 
tempest. My business, however, being of an urgent nature, I ventured 
into the path of the storm, and after encountering innumerable difficul- 
ties, succeeded in crossing it. I was obliged to lead my horse by the 


bridle, to enable him to leap over the fallen trees, whilst I scrambled 
over or under them in the best way I could, at times so hemmed in by 
the broken tops and tangled branches, as almost to become desperate. 
On arriving at my house, I gave an account of what I had seen, when, 
to my surprise, I was told that there had been very little wind in the 
neighbourhood, although in the streets and gardens many branches and 
twigs had fallen in a manner which excited great surprise. 

Many wondrous accounts of the devastating effects of this hurricane 
were circulated in the country, after its occurrence. Some log houses, 
we were told, had been overturned, and their inmates destroyed. One 
person informed me that a wire-sifter had been conveyed by the gust to 
a distance of many miles. Another had found a cow lodged in the fork 
of a large half-broken tree. But, as I am disposed to relate only what I 
have myself seen, I shall not lead you into the region of romance, but 
shall content myself with saying that much damage was done by this 
awful visitation. The valley is yet a desolate place, overgrown with 
briars and bushes, thickly entangled amidst the tops and trunks of the 
fallen trees, and is the resort of ravenous animals, to which they betake 
themselves when pursued by man, or after they have committed their de- 
predations on the farms of the surrounding district. I have crossed the 
path of the storm, at a distance of a hundred miles from the spot where 
I witnessed its fury, and, again, four hundred miles farther off, in the 
State of Ohio. Lastly, I observed traces of its ravages on the summits of 
the mountains connected with the Great Pine Forest of Pennsylvania, 
three hundred miles beyond the place last mentioned. In all these differ- 
ent parts, it appeared to me not to have exceeded a quarter of a mile in 

( 265 ) 


Falco bobealis, Gmel. 

PLATE LI. Male and Female. 

The Red-tailed Hawk is a constant resident in the United States, in 
every part of which it is found. It performs partial migrations, during 
severe winters, from the Northern Districts towards the Southern. In the 
latter, however, it is at all times more abundant, and I shall endeavour 
to present you with a full accovmt of its habits, as observed there. 

Its flight is firm, protracted, and at times performed at a great height. 
It sails across the whole of a large plantation, on a level with the tops of 
the forest-trees which surround it, without a single flap of its wings, and 
is then seen moving its head sidewise to inspect the objects below. This 
flight is generally accompanied by a prolonged mournful cry, which may 
be heard at a considerable distance, and consists of a single sound resem- 
bling the monosyllable Kae, uttered in such a manner as to continue for 
three or four minutes, >vithout any apparent inflection or difference of in- 
tensity. It would seem as if uttered for the purpose of giving notice to 
the living objects below that he is passing, and of thus inducing them to 
bestir themselves and retreat to a hiding-place, before they attain which 
he may have an opportunity of pouncing upon some of them. When he 
spies an animal, while he is thus sailing over a field, I have observed him 
give a slight check to his flight, as if to mark a certain spot with ac- 
curacy, and immediately afterwards ahght on the nearest tree. He would 
then instantly face about, look intensely on the object that had attracted 
his attention, soon after descend towards it with wings almost close to his 
body, and dart upon it with such accuracy and rapidity as seldom to fail 
in securing it. 

When passing over a meadow, a cotton-field, or one planted with su- 
gar-canes, he performs his flight close over the grass or plants, uttering 
no cry, but marking the prey in the manner above described, and on 
perceiving it, ascending in a beautiful curved hne to the top of the near- 
est tree, after which he watches and dives as in the former case. Should 
he not observe any object worthy of his attention, while passmg over a 
meadow or a field, he alights, shakes his feathers, particularly those of 


the tail, and aftfer spending a few minutes in pluming himself, leaves the 
perch, uttering Ms usual cry, and ascending in the air, performs large and 
repeated circular flights, carefully inspecting the field, to assure himself 
that there is in reality nothing in it that may be of use to him. He then 
proceeds to another plantation. At other times, as if not assured that 
his observations have been duly made, he rises in circles over the same 
field to an immense height, where he looks like a white dot in the 
heavens. Yet from this height he must be able to distinguish the objects 
on the ground, even when these do not exceed our little partridge or a 
young hare in size, and although their colour may be almost the same as 
that of surrounding bodies ; for of a sudden his circlings are checked, his 
wings drawn close to his body, his tail contracted to its smallest breadth, 
and he is seen to plunge headlong towards the earth, with a rapidity 
which produces a loud rustling sound nearly equal to that of an Eagle 
on a similar occasion. 

Should he not succeed in discovering the desired object in the fields, 
he enters the forest and perches on some detached tree, tall enough to 
enable him to see to a great distance around. His posture is now erect, 
he remains still and silent, moving only his head, as on all other oc- 
casions, to enable his keen eye to note the occurrences which may take 
place in his vicinity. The lively Squirrel is seen gaily leaping from one 
branch to another, or busily employed in searching for the fallen nuts on 
the ground. It has found one. Its bushy tail is beautifully curved 
along its back, the end of it falling off with a semicircular bend ; its 
nimble feet are seen turning the nut quickly round, and its teeth are al- 
ready engaged in perforating the hard shell ; Avhen, quick as thought, 
the Red-tailed Hawk, which has been watching it in all its motions, falls 
upon it, seizes it near the head, transfixes and strangles it, devours it on 
the spot, or ascends exultingly to a branch with the yet palpitating vic- 
tim in his talons, and there feasts at leisure. 

As soon as the little King-bird has raised its brood, and when its cour- 
age is no longer put in requisition for the defence of its young or its 
mate, the Red-tailed Hawk visits the farm-houses, to pay his regards to 
the poultry. This is done without much precaution, for, while sailing 
over the yard where the chickens, the ducklings, and the young turkeys 
are, the Hawk plunges upon any one of them, and sweeps it ofi^ to the 
nearest wood. When impelled by continued hunger, he now and then 
manages to elude the vigilance of the Martins, Swallows and King-birds, 


and watching for a good opportunity, falls upon and seizes an old fowl, 
the dying screams of which are heard by the farmer at the plough, who 
swears vengeance against the robber. He remembers that he has ob- 
served the Hawk's nest in the woods, and fuU of anger at the recollection 
of the depredations which the plunderer has already committed, and at 
the anticipation of its many visits during the winter, leaves his work and 
his horses, strides to his house, and with an axe and a rifle in his hands 
proceeds towards the tree, where the hopes of the Red-tailed Hawk are 
snugly nestled among, the tall branches. The farmer arrives, eyes the 
gigantic tree, thinks for a moment of the labour which will be required 
for felling it, but resolves that he shall not be overreached by a Hawk. 
He throws aside his hat, roUs up his sleeves, and appHes himself to the 
work. His brawny arms give such an impulse to the axe, that at every 
stroke large chips are seen to fall off" on all sides. The poor mother-bird, 
well aware of the result, sails sorrowfully over and around. She would 
fain beg for mercy towards her young. She ahghts on the edge of the 
nest, and would urge her offspring to take flight. But the farmer has 
watched her motions. The axe is left sticking in the core of the tree, his 
rifle is raised to his shoulder in an instant, and the next moment the whiz- 
zing ball has pierced the heart of the Red-tailed Hawk, which falls un- 
heeded to the earth. The farmer renews his work, and now changes sides. 
A whole hour has been spent in the application of ceaseless blows. He 
begins to look upwards, to judge which way the giant of the forest will 
fall, and having ascertained this, he redoubles his blows. The huge oak 
begins to tremble. Were it permitted to speak, it might ask why it should 
suffer for the deeds of another ; but it is now seen slowly to inchne, and 
soon after with an awful rustling produced by all its broad arms, its 
branches, twigs and leaves, passing like lightning through the air, the 
noble tree falls to the earth, and almost causes it to shake. The work 
of revenge is now accomplished : the farmer seizes the younglings, and 
carries them home, to be tormented by his children, until death termi- 
nates their brief career. 

Notwithstanding the very common occurrence of such acts of retribu- 
tion between man and the Hawk, it would be difficult to visit a planta- 
tion in the State of Louisiana, without observing at least a pair of this 
species hovering about, more especially during the winter months. 
Early in February, they begin to build their nest, which is usually 
placed within the forest, and on the tallest and largest tree in the neigh- 


bourhood. The male and female are busily engaged in carrying up dried 
sticks, and other materials, for eight or ten days, during which time their 
cry is seldom heard. The nest is large, and is fixed in the centre of a 
triply forked branch. It is of a flattish form, constructed of sticks, and 
finished with slender twigs and coarse grasses or Spanish moss. The fe- 
male lays four or five eggs, of a dull white colour, splatched with brown 
and black, with a very hard, smooth shell. The male assists the female 
in incubating, but it is seldom that the one brings food to the other while 
thus employed, 

I have seen one or two of these nests built in a large tree which had 
been left standing in the middle of a field ; but occurrences of this kind 
are rare, on account of the great enmity shewn to this species by the 
farmers. The young are abundantly supplied with food of various kinds, 
particularly grey squirrels, wliich the parents procure while hunting in 
pairs, when nothing can save the squirrel from their attacks excepting its 
retreat into the hole of a tree ; for should the animal be observed ascending 
the trunk or branch of a tree by either of the Hawks, this one immediately 
plunges toward it, while the other watches it from the air. The little 
animal, if placed against the trunk, when it sees the Hawk coming towards 
it, makes swiftly for the opposite side of the trunk, but is there immediate- 
ly dived at by the other Hawk, and now the murderous pair chase it so 
closely, that unless it immediately finds a hole into which to retreat, it is 
caught in a few minutes, killed, carried to the nest, torn in pieces, and 
distributed among the young Hawks. Small hares, or, as we usually call 
them, rabbits, are also frequently caught, and the depredations of the 
Red-tailed Hawks at this period are astonishing, for they seem to kill every 
thing, fit for food, that comes in their way. They are great destroyers 
of tame Pigeons, and woe to the Cock or Hen that strays far from home, 
for so powerful is this Hawk, that it is able not only to kill them, but to 
carry them off" in its claws to a considerable distance. 

The continued attachment that exists between Eagles once paired, is 
not exhibited by these birds, which, after rearing their young, become 
as shy towards each other as if they had never met. This is carried 
to such a singular length, that they are seen to chase and rob each 
other of their prey, on all occasions. I have seen a couple thus engaged, 
when one of them had just seized a young rabbit or a squirrel, and was 
on the eve of rising in the air with it, for the purpose of carrying it off to 
a place of greater security. The one would attack the other with merci- 


less fury, and either force it to abandon the prize, or fight with the same 
courage as its antagonist, to prevent the latter from becoming the sole 
possessor. They are sometimes observed flying either one after the other 
with great rapidity, emitting their continued cry of Jcae, or performing 
beautiful evolutions through the air, until one or other of them becomes 
fatigued, and giving way, makes for the earth, where the battle continues 
until one is overpowered and obliged to make off. It was after witness- 
ing such an encounter between two of these powerful marauders, fighting 
hard for a young hare, that I made the drawing now before you, kind 
reader, in which you perceive the male to have greatly the advantage over 
the female, although she still holds the hare firmly in one of her talons, 
even while she is driven towards the earth, with her breast upwards. 

I have observed that this species will even condescend to pounce on 
wood-rats and meadow-mice ; but I never saw one of these birds seize 
even those without first alighting on a tree before committing the act. 

During the winter months, the Red-tailed Hawk remains perched 
for hours together, when the sun is shining and the weather calm. Its 
breast is opposed to the sun, and it then is seen at a great distance, the 
pure white of that portion of its plumage glittering as if possessed of a silky 
gloss. They return to their roosting-places so late in the evening, that I 
have frequently heard their cry after sun-set, mingling with the jovial notes 
of Chuck- wiUV widow, and the ludicrous laugh of the Barred Owl. In 
the State of Louisiana, the Red-tailed Hawk roosts amongst the tallest 
branches of the Magnolia grandlflora, a tree which there often attains a 
height of a hundred feet, and a diameter of from three to four feet at the 
base. It is also fond of roosting on the tall Cypress- trees of our swamps, 
where it spends the night in security, amidst the mosses attached to the 

The Red-tailed Hawk is extremely wary, and difficult to be approach- 
ed by any one bearing a gun, the use of which it seems to understand 
perfectly ; for no sooner does it perceive a man thus armed than it spreads 
its wings, utters a loud shriek, and sails off in an opposite direction. On 
the other hand, a person on horseback, or walking unarmed, may pass 
immediately under the branch on which it is perched, when it merely 
watches his motions as he proceeds. It seldom alights on fences, or the 
low branches of trees, but prefers the highest and most prominent parts of 
the tallest trees. It alights on the borders of clear streams to drink. I 
have observed it in such situations, immersing its bill up to the eyes, and 
swallowing as much as was necessary to quench its thirst at a single draught. 


I have seen this species pounce on soft-shelled tortoises, and amusing 
enough it was to see the latter scramble towards the water, enter it, and 
save themselves from the claws of the Hawk by immediately diving. I 
am not aware that this Hawk is ever successful in these attacks, as I have 
not on any occasion found any portion of the skin, head, or feet of tor- 
toises in the stomachs of the many Hawks of this species which I have 
killed and examined. Several times, however, I have found portions of 
bull-frogs in their stomach. 

All our Falcons are pestered with parasitic flying ticks. Those found 
amongst the plumage of the Red-tailed Hawk, hke aU others, move 
swiftly sidewise between the feathers, issue from the skin, and shift from 
one portion of the body to another on wing, and do not abandon the bird 
for a day or two after the latter is dead. These ticks are large, and of 
an auburn colour. 

The body of the Red-tailed Hawk is large, compact, and muscular. 
These birds protrude their talons beyond their head in seizing their prey, 
as well as while fighting in the air, in the manner shown in the Plate. I 
have caught several birds of this species by baiting a steel-trap with a live 

The animal represented as held in one of~the feet of the female, is 
usually called a rabbit in all parts of the United States, but is evidently 
a true hare. It never burrows, but has a Jhrm to rest in, and to which 
it returns in the manner of the common hare of Europe. I may hereaf- 
ter present you, kind reader, with a full account of this American species, 
which occurs in great abundance in the United States. 

I have only here to add, that amongst the American farmers the com- 
mon name of our present bird is the Hen-haiok, while it receives that of 
Grand mangeur de poides from the Creoles of Louisiana. 

Falco borealis, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol- i. p. 2C6 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 25 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. p. 32. 
Amebican Buzzard, Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. SO. 
Ked-tailed Hawk, Falco borealis, JVils. Amer. Ornith, vol. vi. p. 75. PI. 52. 

fig. 1. Adult. 
American Buzzard, or White-breasted Hawk, Falco leverianus, Wih. 

Amer. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 78. PI. 51. fig. 3. Young. 

Adult Male. Plate LI. Fig. 1. 


Bill short, robust, at the base as broad as deep, compressed towards 
the end, cerate ; upper mandible, with the dorsal outline, convex from the 
base, rounded on the sides, the edges with an obtuse lobe, the tip trigo- 
nal, descending obliquely, acute ; lower mandible involute at the edges, 
truncate at the end, broadly rounded on the back. Nostrils roundish, 
nearly dorsal, in the fore part of the cere. Head large, flat above. Neck 
shortish, robust. Body bulky. Legs rather long, very robust ; tarsi 
stout, scutellate before and behind, the sides covered with hexagonal 
scales ; toes scutellate above, scaly on the sides, scabrous and tubercular 
beneath ; claws roundish, strong, curved, very acute. 

Plumage compact and firm ; feathers of the head and neck rather nar- 
row, of the other parts broad and rounded. Tarsus feathered anteriorly 
about one-third down. Wings long, ample, rounded, the fourth quill 
longest, the first short. Tail of twelve broad, rounded feathers, even, and 
of ordinary length. 

Bill light blue, blackish at the tip, greenish-yellow on the margin to- 
wards the base ; cere greenish-yellow. Iris hazel. Tarsi and toes yel- 
low ; claws brownish-black. Upper part of the head light brownish- - 
grey. Loral space and under eyelid white. A broad band of dark 
brown from the angle of the movith backwards. Neck above and on the 
sides reddish-yellow, with large deep brown spots. Back deep brown ; 
scapulars of the same colour, broadly margined and tipped with brownish- 
white. Lesser wing-coverts chocolate-brown ; larger lighter brown, tip- 
ped with white. Primary quills blackish-brown ; secondaries lighter, tip- 
ped with brownish-white ; all barred with blackish. Upper teil-coverts 
whitish, barred with brown, and yellowish-red in the middle. Tail bright 
yellowish-red, tipped with whitish, and having a narrow bar of black near 
the end. Lower parts brownish-white ; the fore part of the breast and 
neck light yeUowish-red, the former marked with guttiform, somewhat 
sagittate brown spots : abdomen and chin white ; feathers of the leg and 
tarsus pale reddish-yellow, those on the outside indistinctly spotted. 

Length 20^ inches, extent of wings 46 ; bill along the back 1^, along 
the gap 2 ; tarsus 3^, middle toe 2|. Wings when closed reaching to 
within two inches of the tip of the tail. 

Adult Female. Plate LI. Fig. 9. 

The female, which is considerably larger, agrees with the male in the 
general distribution of its colouring. The upper parts are darker, and 


the under parts nearly white, there being only a few narrow streaks on the 
sides of the breast ; the tibial and tarsal feathers as in the male. The 
tail is of a duller red, and wants the black bar. 
Length 24i inches. 

The American Hare. 

Lepus amehicanus, Harlan, Fauna Americana, p. 193. 

The Rabbit, as this animal is named in the United States, has the 
habits of the European Hare, forming a flat, well-beaten, oblong space 
among the grass, on which it rests during the day. It never burrows like 
the Common Rabbit of Europe, although it resorts for safety to the hol- 
lows of fallen trvxnks, or those frequently existing at the roots of standing 
trees, as well as to cavities in rocks. It feeds principally towards the ap- 
proach of night and early in the morning, and spends the greater part of 
the day in its form. When startled by a dog, it proceeds in a direct man- 
ner for a considerable way, and then returns nearly by the same course. 
When disturbed, if there be not a dog present, it runs to a short distance, 
stops, raises its head, erects its ears, and is then easily discovered and 
shot. When the period of parturition approaches, it forms a kind of nest 
of long grass, arranged in an oblong form. Its flesh is whiter than that 
of the European Hare, but resembles it in flavour. It gnaws the bark of 
young trees in the orchards as well as in the forests, and is in many parts 
very abundant. 

( 273 ) 


Caprimulgus carolinensis, Briss. 

PLATE IJI. Male akd Femalk. 

Our Goatsuckers, although possessed of great power of wing, are par- 
ticularly attached to certain districts and locahties. The species now un- 
der consideration is seldom observed beyond the limits of the Choctaw 
Nation in the State of Mississippi, or the Carolinas, on the shores of the 
Atlantic, and may with propriety be looked upon as the southern species 
of the United States. Louisiana, Florida, the lower portions of Alabama 
and Georgia, are the parts in which it most abounds ; and there it makes 
its appearance early in spring, coming over from Mexico, and probably 
still warmer climates. 

About the middle of March, the forests of Louisiana are heard to 
echo with the well-known notes of this interesting bird. No sooner has 
the sun disappeared, and the nocturnal insects emerge from their bur- 
rows, than the sounds, " chucJc-zciirs-widow,'" repeated with great clear- 
ness and power six or seven times in as many seconds, strike the ear of 
every individual, bringing to the mind a pleasure mingled with a certain 
degree of melancholy, which I have often found very soothing. The 
sounds of the Goatsucker, at all events, forebode a peaceful and calm 
night, and I have more than once thought, are conducive to lull the lis- 
tener to repose. 

The deep ravines, shady swamps, and extensive pine ridges, are all 
equally resorted to by these birds ; for in all such places they find ample 
means of providing for their safety during the day, and of procuring food 
under night. Their notes are seldom heard in cloudy weather, and 
never when it rains. Their roosting places are principally the hollows of 
decayed trees, whether standing or prostrate, from which latter they are 
seldom raised during the day, excepting while incubation is in progress. 
In these hollows I have found them, lodged in the company of several 
species of bats, the birds asleep on the mouldering particles of the wood, 
the bats clinging to the sides of the cavities. When surprised in such si- 
tuations, instead of trying to effect their escape by flying out, they retire 
backwards to the farthest corners, ruffle all the feathers of their body, 


open their mouth to its full extent, and utter a hissing kind of murmur, 
not unlike that of some snakes. When seized and brought to the light 
of day, they open and close their eyes in rapid succession, as if it were 
painful for them to encounter so bright a light. They snap their httle 
bill in the manner of Fly-catchers, and shuffle along as if extremely de- 
sirous of making their escape. On giving them liberty to fly, I have 
found them able to proceed until out of my sight. They passed between 
the trees with apparently as much ease and dexterity as if it had been twi- 
light. I once cut two of the quill-feathers of a wing of one of these birds, 
and allowed it to escape. A few days afterwards I found it in the same 
log, which induces me to believe that they, like many other birds, resort 
to the same spot, to roost or spend the day. 

The flight of the Chuck-will''s-widow is as light as that of its relative, 
the well-known Whip-poor-will, if not more so, and is more graceful as 
well as more elevated. It somewhat resembles the flight of the Hen-har- 
rier, being performed by easy flappings of the wings, interspersed with 
sailings and curving sweeps, extremely pleasing to the bystander. At the 
approach of night, this bird begins to sing clearly and loudly, and con- 
tinues its notes for about a quarter of an hour. At this time it is perched 
on a fence-stake, or on the decayed branch of a tree in the interior of the 
woods, seldom on the ground. The sounds or notes which it emits seem 
to cause it some trouble, as it raises and lowers its head in quick succes- 
sion at each of them. This over, the bird launches into the air, and is 
seen sweeping over the cotton fields or the sugar plantations, cutting all 
sorts of figvires, mounting, descending, or sailing, with so much ease and 
grace, that one might be induced to call it the Fairy of the night. If it 
passes close to one, a murmuring noise is heard, at times resembling that 
spoken of when the bird is caught by day. It suddenly checks its course, 
inclines to the right or left, secures a beetle or a moth, continues its flight 
over the field, passes and repasses hundreds of times over the same 
ground, and now and then alights on a fence-stake, or the tallest plant in 
the place, from which it emits its notes for a few moments with increased 
vivacity. Now, it is seen following a road or a path on the wing, and 
alighting here and there to pick up the beetle emerging from its retreat 
in the ground ; again, it rises high in air, and gives chase to the insects 
that are flying there, perhaps on their passage from one wood to another. 
At other times, I have seen it poise itself on its wings opposite the trunk 
of a tree, and seize with its bill the insects crawling on the bark, in this 


manner inspecting the whole tree, with motions as light as those by which 
the Humming Bird flutters from one flower to another. In this manner 
Chuck-wiirs-widow spends the greater part of the night. 

The greatest harmony appears to subsist between the birds of this 
species, for dozens may be observed flying together over a field, and 
chasing insects in all directions, ^vithout manifesting any enmity or envy. 
A few days after the arrival of the male birds, the females make their 
appearance, and the love season at once commences. The male pays 
his addresses to the female with a degree of pomposity only equalled by 
the Tame Pigeon. The female, perched lengthwise on a branch, appears 
coy and silent, whilst the male flies around her, alights in front of her, 
and with drooping wings and expanded tail advances quickly, singing 
with great impetuosity. They are soon seen to leave the branch together 
and gambol through the air. A few days after this, the female, having 
made choice of a place in one of the most retired parts of some thicket, 
deposits two eggs, which I think, although I cannot be certain, are all 
that she lays for the season. This bird forms no nest. A little space is 
carelessly scratched amongst the dead leaves, and in it the eggs, which 
are elUptical, dull olive, and speckled with brown, are dropped. These 
are not found without great difficulty, unless when by accident a person 
passes within a few feet of the bird whilst sitting, and it chances to fly 
off". Should you touch or handle these dear fruits of happy love, and, 
returning to the place, search for them again, you would search in vain ; 
for the bird perceives at once that they have been meddled with, and 
both parents remove them to some other part of the woods, where chance 
only could enable you to find them again. In the same manner, they 
also remove the young when very small. 

This singular occurrence has as much occupied my thoughts as the 
equally singular manner in which the Cow Buntivg deposits her eggs, 
which she does, like the Common Cuckoo of Europe, one by one, in the 
nests of other birds, of different species from her own. I have spent 
much time in trying to ascertain in what manner the Chuck-wilFs-widow 
removes her eggs or young, particularly as I found, by the assistance of 
an excellent dog, that neither the eggs nor the young were to be met with 
within at least a hundred yards from the spot where they at first lay. 
The Negroes, some of whom pay a good deal of attention to the habits of 
birds and quadrupeds, assured me that these birds push the eggs or 
young with their bill along the ground. Some farmers, without troubling 

s 2 


themselves much about the matter, imagined the transportation to be per- 
formed under the wings of the old bird. The account of the Negroes 
appearing to me more likely to be true than that of the farmers, I made 
up my mind to institute a strict investigation of the matter. The follow- 
ing is the result. 

When the Chuck-will's-widovv, either male or female (for each sits al- 
ternately) has discovered that the eggs have been touched, it ruffles its 
feathers and appears extremely dejected for a minute or two, after which 
it emits a low murmuring cry, scarcely audible to me, as I lay concealed 
at a distance of not more than eighteen or twentv yards. At this time I 
have seen the other parent reach the spot, flying so low over the ground 
that I thought its little feet must have touched it, as it skimmed along, 
and after a few low notes and some gesticulations, all indicative of great 
distress, take an egg in its large mouth, the other bird doing the same, 
when they would fly off" together, skimming closely over the ground, un- 
til they disappeared among the branches and trees. But to what distance 
they remove their eggs, I have never been able to ascertain ; nor have I 
ever had an opportunity of witnessing the removal of the young. Should 
a person, coming upon the nest when the bird is sitting, refrain from 
touching the eggs, the bird returns to them and sits as before. This 
fact I have also ascertained by observation. 

I wish I could have discovered the peculiar use of the pectinated clatv 
which this bird has on each foot ; but, reader, this remains one of the 
many desiderata in ornithology, and I fear, with me at least, will continue 

The Chuck-willVwidow manifests a strong antipathy towards all 
snakes, however harmless they may be. Although these birds cannot in 
any way injure the snakes, they alight near them on all occasions, and try 
to frighten them away, by opening their prodigious mouth, and emitting 
a strong hissing murmur. It was after witnessing one of these occur- 
rences, which took place at early twilight, that the idea of representing 
these birds in such an occupation struck me. The beautiful little snake, 
gliding along the dead branch, between two Chuck-wiUVwidows, a male 
and a female, is commonly called the Harlequin Snake, and is, I believe, 
quite harmless. 

The food of the bird now under consideration consists entirely of all 
sorts of insects, among which the larger species of moths and beetles are 
very conspicuous. The long bristly feathers at the base of the mandibles 


of these birds no doubt contribute greatly to prevent the insects from 
escaping, after any portion of them lias entered the mouth of the bird. 

These birds become silent as soon as the young are hatched, but are 
heard again before their departiu'e towards the end of summer. At this 
season, however, their cry is much less frequently heard than in spring. 
They leave the United States all of a sudden, about the middle of the 
month of August. 

Caprimulgus CAROLiNEsrsis, Giiiel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 1028. — Lalh. Ind. Ornitli. 

vol. ii. p. 5Si.— Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 61. 
Carolina Goatsucker, Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 592. 
•Chuck-will's-widow, Caprimulgus carolinensis, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. vi. 

p. 95. PI. 54 fig. 2. 

" Adult Male. Plate LI I. Fig. 1. 

Bill extremely short, feeble, opening to beyond the eyes, making the 
mouth when open of enormous dimensions ; upper mandible arched in 
its dorsal outUne, very broad at the base, suddenly contracted towards 
the tip, which is compressed and rather obtuse; lower mandible a little 
decurved at the tip. Nostrils basal, oval, prominent, covered above by a 
membrane. Head disproportionately large. Eyes and ears very large. 
Neck short. Body rather slender. Feet very short ; tarsus partly 
feathered, anteriorly scutellate below ; fore toes three, connected to the 
second joint by membranes, scutellate above ; claws depressed, arched, 
that of the middle toe with the inner edge expanded and pectinate. 

Plumage blended, soft and silky, without much gloss. Upper 
mandible margined at the base with long, stiff bristles, extending for- 
wards and outwards. Wings long, somewhat falcate, narrow, the second 
and third quills longest. Tail long, ample, even, of ten broad, rounded 

Bill yellowish-brown, the tip black. Iris hazel. Feet yellowish- 
brown, tinged with purple. Head and back dark brown, minutely 
mottled with yellowish-red, and longitudinally streaked with black. 
Three lines of the latter colour from the upper mandible, diverging along 
the head. A yellowish- white Line over the eye. Sides of the head and 
chin yellowish-red, mottled with black. Wings barred with yellowish- 
red and brownish-black, and minutely sprinkled with the latter colour, 
as are the wing-coverts, which, together with the scapulars, are largely 


spotted with black, and tinged with bluish-grey. Tail similarly barred and 
sprinkled, the inner webs of the three outer feathers white, and their ex- 
tremities light yellowish-red, more minutely sprinkled, and without bars. 
Under parts blackish, sprinkled with yellowish-red, the belly lighter, and 
a slight band of whitish across the fore-neck. 

Length 12| inches, extent of wings 26 ; bill along the back 5, along 
the gap 2. 

Adult Female. Plate LIT. Fig. 2. 

The colouring of the female is similar to that of the male. The three 
outer tail-feathers are brownish on their inner webs, yellowish-red, with- 
out dots, at the tip, with a distinct subterminal bar of black. 

The Harlequin Snake. 

This beautiful Snake is rather rare in the United States, where I 
have observed it only in the south. It glides through the grass with 
ease, and ascends to the tops of bvishes and among the branches of fallen 
trees, to bask in the sun. Children are fond of catching it on account of 
its beauty. It feeds principally on insects, such as flies and small 
Coleoptera. Its usual size is that represented in the plate. 

( -279 ) 


Fringilla Ciris, Temm. 

PLATE LIII. Male in different states of Plumage, and Female. 

About the middle of April, the orange groves of the lower parts of 
Louisiana, and more especially those in the immediate vicinity of the 
City of New Orleans, are abundantly supplied with this beautiful little 
Sparrow. But no sooner does it make its appearance than trap-cages are 
set, and a regular business is commenced in the market of that city. 
The method employed in securing the male Painted Finch is so con- 
nected with its pugnacious habits, that I feel incUned to describe it, 
especially as it is so different from the common way of alluring birds, 
that it may afford you, kind reader, some amusement. 

A male bird in full plumage is shot and stuffed in a defensive atti- 
tude, and perched among some grass seed, rice, or other food, on the 
same platform as the trap-cage. This is taken to the fields or near the 
orangeries, and placed in so open a situation, that it would be difficult 
for a living bird of any species to fly over it, without observing it. The 
trap is set. A male Painted Finch passes, perceives it, and dives to- 
wards the stuffed bird, with all the anger which its little breast can con- 
tain. It ahghts on the edge of the trap for a moment, and throwing its 
body against the stuffed bird, brings down the trap, and is made pri- 
soner. In this manner, thousands of these birds are caught every spring. 
So pertinacious are they in their attacks, that even when the trap has 
closed upon them, they continue pecking at the feathers of the supposed 
rival. The approach of man seems to allay its anger in a moment. The 
live bird is removed to the lower apartment of the cage, and is thereby 
made to assist in decoying others. 

They feed almost immediately after being caught; and if able to 
support the loss of liberty for a few days, may be kept for several years. 
I have known some instances of their being kept in confinement for up- 
wards of ten years. Few vessels leave the port of New Orleans during 
the summer months, without taking some Painted Finches, and through 
this means they are transported probably to all parts of Europe. I have 
seen them offered for sale in London and Paris, with the trifling differ- 


ence of value on each individual, which converted the sixpence paid for 
it at New Orleang to three guineas in London. 

The pugnacious habits of this species are common in a great degree 
to the whole family of Sparrows. Like the most daring, the Common 
House Sparrow of Europe, they may be observed in spring time, in little 
groups of four, five or six, fighting together, moving round each other to 
secure an advantageous position, pecking and pulling at each other's 
feathers Avith all the violence and animosity to which their small degree 
of strength can give effect. 

A group thus occupied I have attempted to represent in the plate. I 
have at the same time endeavoured to save you the trouble of reading a 
long description of the changes which take place in their plumage, from 
the time at which the young leave the nest, until the fourth year follow- 
ing, when the males attain the full beauty of their brilliant livery. 
Where in fact would be the necessity of telling you more, than that the 
young, during the first summer, are similar in colouring to the female ; 
that the next spring, the head of the males only has become of a hand- 
some blue ; that, the spring following, the same bird is mottled more or 
less with azure, carmine, yellow and green ; and that it requires another 
return of the warm season before all these colours are perfected and ren- 
dered permanent ; when at a single glance you can determine all this at 
once. Long descriptions of this kind are only fit to be read to the blind. 
Colours speak for themselves. 

The flight of the Pape, by which name the Creoles of Louisiana 
know this bird best, is short, although regular, and performed by a nearly 
constant motion of the wings, which is rendered necessary by their con- 
cave form. It hops on the ground, moving forward with ease, now and 
then jetting out the tail a little, and, like a true Sparrow, picking up and 
carrying off on wing a grain of rice or a crumb of bread to some dis- 
tance, where it may eat in more security. It has a sprightly song, often 
repeated, which it continues even when closely confined. When the bird 
is at hberty, this song is uttered from the top branches of an orange- 
tree, or those of a common briar, and although not so sonorous as that of 
the Canary, or of its nearer relative, the Indigo Bunting, is not far from 
equalling either. Its song is continued during the greatest heats of the 
day, which is also the case with that of the Indigo Bird. 

The nest of this pretty bird is generally placed in a low situation, in 
an orange-tree, frequently within a few paces of the house, or far from it 


on the edge of the fences, where briars are convenient. It raises two 
broods each season. The eggs are four or five, of a beautiful pearly, 
rather bluish colour, speckled with blackish, and are deposited in a sim- 
ply constructed nest, lined with fine fibrous roots or horse-hair, and ex- 
ternally formed of fine grass. They readily breed in confinement, if their 
prison is rendered tolerably comfortable. The young are fed at first in 
the manner of Canaries, but at the end of ten or twelve days are taught 
to swallow grains of rice, insects or berries. No sooner are figs or grapes 
ripe than these birds attack them, feeding for some time almost entirely 
upon them. Towards evening, they also pursue insects on wing. 

Some persons give the name of Nonpareil to this species, but it is 
more commonly known by the name of Pape, which, in fact, is a general 
appellation given by the inhabitants of Louisiana to all the smaller spe- 
cies of thick-billed birds. 

The Painted Finches do not proceed far eastward, nor, indeed, up 
the Mississippi, being seldom seen above the City of Natchez, on that 
river, or farther to the east than the Carolinas. It retires southward in 
the beg-inning; of October. 

The Chickasaw Wild Plum, on a twig of which I have represented a 
group of these birds, is found growing abundantly in the country where 
the birds occur. It is a small shrub, the fruit of which is yellow when 
ripe, and excellent eating. 

FaiNGiLLA Ciais, Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 107. 

Emberiza Ciris, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. p. 313 Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 410'. 

Painted Bunting, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 206 Wils. Amer. Omitli. vol. iii. p. 68. 

PI. xxiv. fig. 1. Male ; Fig. 2. Female. 

Adult Male, in full plumage. Plate LI II. Fig 1. 

Bill short, robust, conical, somewhat bulging, straight, acute ; upper 
mandible broader, slightly declinate at the tip ; gap-line a little declinate 
at the base. Nostrils basaL roundish, partly concealed by the frontal 
feathers. Head and neck rather large. Body full. Feet of moderate 
length ; tarsus a little longer than the middle toe ; toes free, the lateral 
ones nearly equal ; claws compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage blended, tufty, somewhat compact on the head and back. 
Wings of ordinary length, the third quill longest. Tail shortish, even, 
of twelve rounded feathers. 


Bill dark brown above, light-blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet light blue. 
Head and upper neck pure azure, a circle of carmine round the eye. 
Back and lesser wing-coverts yellowish-green. Lower back and under 
parts deep carmine. QuiUs and tail purplish-brown ; secondary coverts 

Length 5^, extent of wings 7^ ; biU along the ridge i, along the 
gap ^ ; tarsus f , middle toe f . 

Male in the third year. Plate LIII. Fig. 2. 

Head and under parts as in the full-plumaged male. Back mottled 
with yeUow and light green ; upper wing-coverts patched with green, 
yellow and brown. 

Male in the second year. Plate LIII. Fig. 4. 

Bill and upper part of the head as in the adult. Upper parts gene- 
rally olive-green ; under parts dull orange, paler behind. 

Male in the first year. Plate LIII. Fig. 3. 

Under mandible blue ; in other respects similar to the female. 

Adult Female. Plate LIII. Fig. 5. 

BiU brown. Feet light blue. Upper parts in general light olive 
green ; under parts dull orange, paler behind. 

The Chickasaw Plum. 

Prunus CnicASA, Mich. Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 284. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. i. '^ 332. 
— IcosANDMA MoKOGYNiA, Linn. Rosacea, Juss. 

This species is distinguished by its oblongo-elliptical, acuminate, 
serrulate leaves ; smooth spinescent branches ; flowers in pairs, with very 
short pedicels, and glabrous calyces ; and its broadly oval fruits. It 
flowers in April and May. 

( 283 ) 


Icterus AGBiPENNis, Ch. Bonap. 

PLATE LIV. Male and Female. 

Verv few of these birds pass through Louisiana in spring, and still 
fewer, on their return, in autumn ; for which reason I am inclined to 
think that they do not spend the winter months so much in the Southern 
parts of America as in some of the West India Islands. Indeed, I am 
the more inclined to beheve this to be the case, that they seldom pene- 
trate far into the interior, during their stay with us, but prefer the dis- 
tricts bordering upon the Atlantic, through which they pass and repass 
in incredible numbers. 

In Louisiana, small detached flocks of males or of females appear 
about the middle of March and beginning of April, alighting in the mea- 
dows and grain-fields, where they pick up the grubs and insects found 
about the roots of the blades. I have heard it asserted, though I can- 
not give it as a fact, that the appearance of the Rice Bird in spring 
forebodes a bad harvest. The idea probably originates from the circum- 
stance that these birds do not pass through Louisiana regularly every 
year, there being sometimes three or four springs in succession in which 
they are not observed. 

The plumage of many of the males at this early season still resembles 
that of the females, but it changes in the course of their stay, which is 
seldom more than a fortnight. I have ascertained this fact by dissecting 
many at this period, when, notwithstanding the dull colour of their plu- 
mage, I found the sexual organs greatly developed, which is not the case 
in autumn, even in the old males. I had another clew to the discovery 
of this fact. No sooner did a flock of females make its appearance, than 
these dull-looking gentlemen immediately paid them such particular at- 
tention, and sang so vehemently, that the fact of their being of a difl*erent 
sex became undeniable. 

Here they pass under the name of Meadow Birds. In Pennsylvania 
they are called Reed Birds, in Carolina Rice Buntings, and in the State 
of New York Boblinhs. The latter appellation is given to them as far 
eastward as they are known to proceed for the purpose of breeding. 

During their sojourn in Louisiana, in spring, their song, which is 


extremely interesting, and emitted with a volubility bordering on the 
burlesque, is heard from a whole party at the same time ; when, as each 
individual is, of course, possessed of the same musical powers as his 
neighbours, it becomes amusing to listen to thirty or forty of them be- 
ginning one after another, as if ordered to follow in quick succession, af- 
ter the first notes are given by a leader, and producing such a medley as it 
is impossible to describe, although it is extremely pleasant to hear it. 
While you are listening, the whole flock simultaneously ceases, which ap- 
pears equally extraordinary. This curious exhibition takes place every 
time that the flock has alighted on a tree, after feeding for a while on the 
ground, and is renewed at intervals during the day. 

There is a very remarkable fact in the history of this species, which 
is, that while moving eastward, during their migration, in spring, they 
fly mostly at night ; whereas iri autumn, when they are returning south- 
ward, their flight is diurnal. This, kind reader, is another puzzle to me. 

About the middle of May, the Boblinks reach the State of New 
York, their stay in the intermediate States being of short duration at that 
season, although sufficient to enable them to cause great injury to the 
corn fields in Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania, where it is said, al- 
though I can scarcely give credit to the assertion, that they cut the 
blade near the root. This is perhaps laid to their charge for the pur- 
pose of aggravating the real injury which they afterwards inflict on the 
farmers, by feeding on the grain when in a milky and tender state. 
However, they reach the States of New York and Connecticut, and ex- 
tend their journey to the easternmost of our districts, proceeding also to 
the borders of Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, and the St Laurence. 

By this time, they have become so plentiful, and have so dispersed 
all over the country, that it is impossible to see a meadow or a field of 
corn, which does not contain several pairs of them. The beauty, or, per- 
haps more properly, the variety of their plumage, as well as of their song, 
attracts the attention of the bird-catchers. Great numbers are captured 
and exposed for sale in the markets, particularly in those of the city of 
New York. They are caught in trap-cages, and feed and sing almost 
immediately after. Many are carried to Europe, where the shipper is 
often disappointed in his profits, as by the time they reach there, the 
birds have changed their colours and seem all females. 

Whilst the love season lasts, the males are more sprightly than ever. 
Their song is mostly performed in the air, while they are rising and fall- 


ing in successive jerks, which are as amusing as the jingling of their vo- 
cal essays. The variety of their colours is at this juncture very remark- 
able. It is equally so, when, on rising from among the grass and flying 
away from the observer, they display the pure black and white of their 
wings and body. 

The nest of the Rice Bunting is placed on the ground, without much 
apparent care as to choice of situation, but always amongst the grass, or in 
a field of wheat or barley. It is composed of coarse dried grasses and 
leaves externally, and is lined with finer meadow grass. It appears large 
for the size of the bird. The female lays from four to six eggs, of a 
white colour, strongly tinged with dull blue, and irregularly spotted with 
blackish. They raise only one brood in a season. 

No sooner have the young left the nest, than they and their parents 
associate with other families, so that by the end of July large flocks be- 
gin to appear. They seem to come from every portion of the Eastern 
States, and already resort to the borders of the rivers and estuaries to 
roost. Their songs have ceased, the males have lost their gay livery, and ' 
have assumed the yellow hue of the females and young, although the 
latter are more firm in their tints than the old males, and the whole be- 
gin to return southward, slowly and with a single clink, sufficient how- 
ever to give intimation of their passage, as they fly high in long files dur- 
ing the whole day. 

Now begin their devastations. They plunder every field, but are 
shot in immense numbers. As they pass along the sea shores, and fol- 
low the mviddy edges of the rivers, covered at that season with full 
grown reeds, whose tops are bent down with the weight of the ripe seeds, 
they alight amongst them in countless multitudes, and afford abundant 
practice to every gunner. 

It is particularly towards sunset, and when the weather is fine, that 
the sport of shooting Reed Birds is most profitable. They have then 
fully satiated their appetite, and have collected closely for the purpose of 
roosting. At the discharge of a gun, a flock sufficient to cover several 
acres rises en masse, and performing various evolutions, densely packed, 
and resembling a sultry cloud, passes over and near the sportsman, when he 
lets fly, and finds occupation for some time in picking up the dozens which 
he has brought down at a single shot. One would think that every gun 
in the country has been put in requisition. Millions of these birds are de- 
stroyed, and yet millions remain, for after all the havock that has been 


made among them in the Middle Districts, they follow the coast, and 
reach the rice plantations of the Carolinas in such astonishing numbers, 
that no one could conceive their flocks to have been already thinned. 
Their flesh is extremely tender and juicy. The markets are amply sup- 
plied, and the epicures have a glorious time of it. 

By the end of October, few are found remaining in the States of New 
York and Pennsylvania ; and by the first of December they have left the 
United States. 

The food of these birds varies according to the seasons, and consists 
of grubs, caterpillars, insects of various kinds, such as beetles, grass- 
hoppers, crickets, and ground-spiders, and the seeds of wild oats, wheat, 
barley, rice, and other grasses. They cling or climb along the stalks of 
rank weeds, reeds, and com, with great activity and ease, and when at 
roost place themselves as near the ground as possible. 

Icterus agripennis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 53. 
Emberiza ortzivora, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 311. — Lath. Ind. Ornitli. vol. i. 

p. 408. 
Rice Bunting, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 188 — Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 48, 

PI. xii. fig. 1, 2. 

Plate LIV. Fig. 1. Adult Male in summer. 

Bill of ordinary length, robust, conical, compressed ; upper mandible 
narrower, inflected at the edges, the dorsal outline a little convex, the 
ridge slightly prolonged on the forehead, the palate furnished with a hard 
tubercle ; under mandible with the dorsal outline convex, as are the sides, 
the edges inflected ; the gap line much deflected at the base, straight. 
Nostrils basal, oval, in a short deep grove, nearly concealed by the 
feathers. Head large, neck thick, body full. Feet of ordinary length, 
rather strong ; tarsus compressed, anteriorly covered with six scutella, 
posteriorly acute ; toes scutellate above, the outer united at the base ; 
claws arched, compressed, acute, the hind one very long. 

Plumage compact, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second 
quill longest. Tail of ordinary length, composed of twelve acuminate 

Bill dark brown above, bluish-grey beneath. Iris hazel. Feet light 
reddish-brown. Upper and fore part of the head, cheeks, tail, quills, 
and the whole under parts, black. Back of the head and neck brownish- 


yellow. Fore part of the back black, the feathers margined with yellow, 
as are the secondary quills and coverts. Lower back, tail-coverts and 
scapulars, pure white. 

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge ■j'^j, along 
the gap I ; tarsus 1 1, middle toe 1 ^. 

Adult Female in summer. Plate LIV. Fig. 2. 

The female is somewhat less than the male, and differs greatly in the 
colours of the plumage, the upper parts being light yellowish-brown, lon- 
gitudinally streaked with blackish-brown, the under parts pale greyish- 
yellow, the sides longitudinally marked with dark brown. There is a 
broad band of dark brown on each side of the head, beneath which is a 
yellowish streak over the eye, and a blackish spot behind it. The quills 
and tail-feathers are wood-brown, the former, as well as the coverts, mar- 
gined with yellowish. 

Notwithstanding the somewhat greater length of the bill, this bird 
evidently approaches very nearly to the genus Emberiza, or is one of the 
connecting links between it and the genus Icterus. The female in co- 
lourino- bears a striking resemblance to Emberiza miliaria. 

The Red Maple. 

Acer rubrum, Willd. Sp. Plant, vol. iv. p. 984. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. 1. p. 265. 
Mich. Alb. Forest, de I'Ainer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 210. PI. 14 — Octandria Mono- 
GYNiA, Linn. Acerine^, Juss. 

This species, which is known by the names of Red Maple and Swamp 
Maple, is distinguished by its five-lobed or three-lobed leaves, which are 
cordate at the base^ unequally and deeply toothed, and glaucous beneath ; 
its sessile umbels, elongated pedicels, and smooth germens. The flowers 
and seeds are red. It is very extensively distributed, and in the Swamps 
of Pennsylvania and New Jersey attains a height of from sixty to eighty 
feet. When young, the bark is smooth, and covered with large white 
spots, but it ultimately cracks and becomes brown. The wood is hard 
and close, and takes a good polish. It is extensively used for various 

( 288 ) 


Regulus CUVIERII. 
PLATE LV. Male. 

I HAVK named this pretty and rare species after Baron Cuvier, not 
merely by way of acknowledgment for the kind attentions which I have 
received at the hands of that deservedly celebrated naturahst, but more 
as a homage due by every student of nature to one at present unrivalled 
in the knowledge of General Zoology. 

I shot the bird represented in the Plate, on my father-in-law's plan- 
tation of Fatland Ford, on the Skuylkill River in Pennsylvania, on the 
8th June 1812, while on a visit to my honoured relative Mr William 
Bakewell. The drawing which I then made I have kept to this date, 
without having described the bird from which it was taken. I killed this 
little bird, supposing it to be one of its relatives, the Ruby-crested Wren, 
whilst it was searching for insects and larvae amongst the leaves and blos- 
soms of the Kalmia latifolia, on a branch of which you see it represented, 
and was not aware of its being a different bird until I picked it up from 
the ground. I have not seen another since, nor have I been able to learn 
that this species has been observed by any other individual. It might, 
however, be very easily mistaken for the Ruby-crowned Wren, the man- 
ners of which appear to be much the same. 

My excellent friend Charles Lucian Bonaparte, to whom also I 
shewed my drawing of this bird in London, proposed naming it Reguhis 
Carhunculus ; and I should probably have introduced it to you, kind 
reader, under that appellation, had I not changed it for that of Regtilus 
Cuvierii, on my fortunately becoming acquainted with the highly cele- 
brated and equally kind Secretary of the Royal Institute of France. 

The Kalmia latifolia grows in great profusion in the State of Penn- 
sylvania, and along the range of the AUeghanies, in all rocky and hiUy 

Begulus Cuvierii. 
Plate LV. Male. 


Bill short, straight, subulate, very slender, compressed, with inflected 
edges ; upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the edges 
slightly notched close upon the slightly declinate acute tip ; lower man- 
dible straight, acute. Nostrils basal, elliptical, half closed above by a 
membrane, covered over by the feathers. The whole form slender. Legs 
rather long ; tarsus slender, much compressed, longer than the middle 
toe, covered anteriorly with a few indistinct scutella ; toes scutellate, the; 
lateral ones nearly equal and free ; hind toe stouter ; claws weak, com- 
pressed, arched, acute. I 

Plumage very loose and tufty Bristles at the base of the bill ; a-, 
small decomposed feather covering the nostril. Wings of ordinary length, 
the third and fourth primaries longest. Tail of twelve feathers, emarginate. 

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet yellowish-brown. The general colour 
of the upper parts is dull greyish-olive. Forehead, lore, and a line be-; 
hind the eye, black. A semilunar band of the same on the top of the 
head, the middle space vermihon. Wings and tail dusky, edged witl\ 
greenish-yellow. Secondary coverts tipped with greyish-white. Under 
parts greyish-white. 

Length 4^ inches, extent of wings 6 ; bill along the ridge nearly |:, 
along the gap nearly | ; tarsus f . 

The Broad-leaved Kalmia, or Laurel. 

Kalmia LATiFOLiA, WiUcl. Sp. PL vol. ii. p. 600. Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 296. — 
Decandria Monogynia, Liitn. Rhododendra, Juss. 

This beautiful species is characterized by its scattered, petiolate, el- 
liptical leaves, which are smooth, and nearly of the same colour on both 
sides ; and its terminal, viscid, and pubescent corymbs. It is a middle- 
sized shrub, sometimes attaining a height of eight or ten feet. The leaves 
.are evergreen, as in the other species, and the flowers pf a delicate pink. 

( 290 ) 


It may not be amiss, kind reader, before I attempt to give you some 
idea of the pleasures experienced by the sportsmen of Kentucky, to in- 
troduce the subject with a shght description of that State. 

Kentucky was formerly attached to Virginia, but in those days the 
Indians looked upon that portion of the western wilds as their own, and 
abandoned the district only when forced to do so, moving with disconso- 
late hearts farther into the recesses of the unexplored forests. Doubtless 
the richness of its soil, and the beauty of its borders, situated as they are 
along one of the most beautiful rivers in the world, contributed as much 
to attract the Old Virginians, as the desire so generally experienced in 
America, of spreading over the uncultivated tracts, and bringing into 
cultivation lands that have for unknown ages teemed with the wild luxu- 
riance of untamed nature. The conquest of Kentucky was not performed 
without many difficulties. The warfare that long existed between the in- 
truders and the Redskins was sanguinary and protracted ; but the for- 
mer at length made good their footing, and the latter drew off their shat- 
tered bands, dismayed by the mental superiority and indomitable courage 
of the white men. 

This region was probably discovered by a daring hunter, the renowned 
Daniel Boon. The richness of its soil, its magnificent forests, its number- 
less navigable streams, its salt springs and Hcks, its saltpetre caves, its coal 
strata, and the vast herds of buffaloes and deer that browsed on its hills and 
amidst its charming valleys, afforded ample inducements to the new set- 
tler, who pushed forward with a spirit far above that of the most un- 
daunted tribes, which for ages had been the sole possessors of the soU. 

The Virginians thronged towards the Ohio. An axe, a couple of 
horses, and a heavy rifle, with store of ammunition, were all that were con- 
sidered necessary for the equipment of the man, who, with his family, re- 
moved to the new State, assured that, in that land of exuberant fertility, 
he could not fail to provide amply for all his wants. To have witnessed 
the industry and perseverance of these emigrants, must at once have 
proved the vigour of their minds. Regardless of the fatigue attending 
every movement which they made, they pushed through an unexplored 
region of dark and tangled forests, guiding themselves by the sun alone. 


and reposing at night on the bare ground. Numberless streams they 
had to cross on rafts, with their wives and children, their cattle and their 
luggage, often drifting to considerable distances before they could effect 
a landing on the opposite shores. Their cattle would often stray amid 
the rice pasturage of these shores, and occasion a delay of several days. 
To these troubles add the constantly impending danger of being mur- 
dered, while asleep in their encampments, by the prowling and ruthless 
Indians ; while they had before them a distance of hundreds of miles to 
be traversed, before they could reach certain places of rendezvous called 
Stations. To encounter difficulties Like these must have required ener- 
gies of no ordinary kind ; and the reward which these veteran settlers 
enjoy was doubtless well merited. 

Some removed from the Atlantic shores to those of the Ohio in more 
comfort and security. They had their waggons, their Negroes, and their 
families. Their way was cut through the woods by their own axemen, 
the day before their advance, and when night overtook them, the hunters 
attached to the party came to the place pitched upon for encamping, 
loaded with the dainties of which the forest yielded an abundant supply, 
the blazing light of a huge fire guiding their steps as they approached, 
and the sounds of merriment that saluted their ears assuring them that all 
was well. The flesh of the buffalo, the bear, and the deer, soon hung in 
large and delicious steaks, in front of the embers ; the cakes already pre- 
pared were deposited in their proper places, and under the rich drippings 
of the juicy roasts, were quickly baked. The waggons contained the 
bedding, and whilst the horses which had drawn them were turned loose 
to feed on the luxuriant undergrowth of the woods, some perhaps hop- 
pled, but the greater number, merely with a hght bell hung to their 
neck, to guide their owners in the morning to the spot where they might 
have rambled; the party were enjoying themselves after the fatigues of 
the day. 

In anticipation all is pleasure ; and these migrating bands feasted in 
joyous sociality, unapprehensive of any greater difficulties than those to 
be encountered in forcing their way through the pathless woods to the 
land of abundance ; and although it took months to accomplish the jour- 
ney, and a skirmish now and then took place between them and the In- 
dians, who sometimes crept unperceived into their very camp, still did 
the Virginians cheerfully proceed towards the western horizon, until the 

various groups all reached the Ohio, when, struck with the beauty of that 

T 2 


magnificent stream, they at once commenced the task of clearing lafnd, 
for the purpose of establishing a permanent residence. 

Others, perhaps encumbered with too much luggage, preferred de- 
scending the stream. They prepared a^A;* pierced with port-holes, and 
glided on the gentle current, more annoyed, however, than those who 
marched by land, by the attacks of the Indians, who watched their mo- 
tions. Many travellers have described these boats, formerly called arA.?, 
but now uavaedjlat-boats. But have they told you, kind reader, that in 
those times a boat thirty or forty feet in length, by ten or twelve in 
breadth, was considered a stupendous fabric ; that this boat contained 
men, women and children, huddled together, with horses, cattle, hogs 
and poultry for their companions, while the remaining portion was 
crammed with vegetables and packages of seeds ? The roof or deck of 
the boat was not unlike a farm-yard, being covered with hay, ploughs, 
carts, waggons, and various agricultural implements, together with nu- 
merous others, among which the spinning-wheels of the matrons were 
conspicuous. Even the sides of the floating-mass were loaded with the 
wheels of the different vehicles, which themselves lay on the roof. Have 
they told you that these boats contained the little all of each family of 
venturous emigrants, who, fearful of being discovered by the Indians 
under night moved in darkness, groping their way from one part to 
another of these floating habitations, denying themselves the comfort of 
fire or light, lest the foe that watched them from the shore should 
rush upon them and destroy them ? Have they told you that this boat 
was used, after the tedious voyage was ended, as the first dwelling of 
these new settlers ? No, kind reader, such things have not been related 
to you before. The travellers who have visited our country, have had 
other objects in view. 

I shall not describe the many massacres which took place among the 
different parties of White and Red men, as the former moved down 
the Ohio ; because I have never been very fond of battles, and indeed 
have always wished that the world were more peaceably inclined than it 
is ; and shall merely add, that, in one way or other, Kentucky was wrested 
from the original owners of the soil. Let us, therefore, turn our atten- 
tion to the sports stiU enjoyed in that now happy portion of the United 

We have individuals in Kentucky, kind reader, that even there are 
considered wonderful adepts in the management of the rifle. To drive 


a iiail is a common feat, not more thought off by the Kentuckians than 
to cut off a wild turkey's head, at a distance of a hundred yards. Others 
will baric off squirrels one after another, until satisfied with the number 
procured. Some, less intent on destroying game, may be seen under 
night snuffing a candle at the distance of fifty yards, oflp-hand, without 
extinguishing it. I have been told that some have proved so expert and 
cool, as to make choice of the eye of a foe at a wonderful distance, boasting 
beforehand of the sureness of their piece, which has afterwards been 
fully proved when the enemy's head has been examined i 

Having resided some years in Kentucky, and having more than once 
been witness of rifle sport, I shall present you with the results of my ob- 
servation, leaving you to judge how far rifle-shooting is understood in 
that State. 

Several individuals who conceive themselves expert in the manage- 
ment of the gun, are often seen to meet for the purpose of displaying 
their skill, and betting a trifling sum, put up a target, in the centre of 
which a common-sized nail is hammered for about two-thirds of its length. 
The marksmen make choice of what they consider a proper distance, 
which may be forty paces. Each man cleans the interior of his tube, 
which is called wiping it, places a ball in the palm of his hand, pouring 
as much powder from his horn upon it as will cover it. This quantity is 
supposed to be sufficient for any distance within a hundred yards. A 
shot which comes very close to the nail is considered as that of an indif- 
ferent marksman ; the bending of the nail is, of course, somewhat better ; 
but nothing less than hitting it right on the head is satisfactory. Well, 
kind reader, one out of three shots generally hits the nail, and should the 
shooters amount to half a dozen, two nails are frequently needed before 
each can have a shot. Those who drive the nail have a further trial 
amongst themselves, and the two best shots out of these generally settle 
the affair, when all the sportsmen adjourn to some house, and spend an 
hour or two in friendly intercourse, appointing, before they part, a day for 
another trial. This is technically termed Driving the Nail. 

Barking off squirrels is delightful sport, and in my opinion requires a 
greater degree of accuracy than any other. I first witnessed this manner 
of procuring squirrels, whilst near the town of Frankfort. The performer 
was the celebrated Daniel Boon. We walked out together, and fol- 
lowed the rocky margins of the Kentucky River, until we reached a piece 
of flat land thickly covered with black walnuts, oaks and hickories. As 


the general mast was a good one that year, squirrels were seen gambol- 
ling on every tree around us. My companion, a stout, hale, and athletic 
man, dressed in a homespun hunting-shirt, bare-legged and moccasined, 
carried a long and heavy rifle, which, as he was loading it, he said had 
proved efficient in all his former undertakings, and which he hoped 
would not fail on this occasion, as he felt proud to shew me his skill. 
The gun was wiped, the powder measured, the ball patched with six- 
hundred-thread linen, and the charge sent home with a hickory rod. We 
moved not a step from the place, for the squirrels were so numerous that 
it was unnecessary to go after them. Boon pointed to one of these ani- 
mals which had observed us, and was crouched on a branch about fifty 
paces distant, and bade me mark well the spot where the ball should liit. 
He raised his piece gradually, until the head (that being the name given 
by the Kentuckians to the sight) of the barrel was brought to a line with 
the spot wliich he intended to hit. The whip-hke report resounded 
through the woods and along the hills, in repeated echoes. Judge of my 
surprise, when I perceived that the ball had hit the piece of the bark 
immediately beneath the squirrel, and shivered it into splinters, the con- 
cussion produced by which had killed the animal, and sent it whirling 
through the air, as if it had been blo^vn up by the explosion of a powder 
magazine. Boon kept up his firing, and, before many hours had elapsed, 
we had procured as many squirrels as we wished ; for you must know, 
kind reader, that to load a rifle requires only a moment, and that if it 
is wiped once after each shot, it will do duty for hours. Since that first 
interview with our veteran Boon, I have seen many other individuals 
perform the same feat. 

The snuffing of a candle with a ball, I first had an opportunity of 
seeing near the banks of Green River, not far from a large pigeon-roost, 
to which I had previously made a visit. I heard many reports of guns 
during the early part of a dark night, and knowing them to be those of 
rifles, I went towards the spot to ascertain the cause. On reaching the 
place, I was welcomed by a dozen of tall stout men, who told me they 
were exercising, for the purpose of enabling them to shoot under night at 
the reflected light from the eyes of a deer or wolf, by torch-light, of 
which I shall give you an account somewhere else. A fire was blazing 
near, the smoke of which rose curling among the thick foliage of the 
trees. At a distance which rendered it scarcely distinguishable, stood a 
burning candle, as if intended for an oifering to the goddess of night, but 


which in reality was only fifty yards from the spot on which we all stood. 
One man was within a few yards of it, to watch the effects of the shots, 
as weU as to light the candle should it chance to go out, or to replace it 
should the shot cut it across. Each marksman shot in his turn. Some 
never hit either the snuff or the candle, and were congratulated with a 
loud laugh ; while others actually snuffed the candle without putting it 
out, and were recompensed for their dexterity by numerous hurrahs. 
One of them, who was particularly expert, was very fortunate, and snuf- 
fed the candle three times out of seven, whilst aU the other shots either 
put out the candle, or cut it immediately under the hght. 

Of the feats performed by the Kentuckians with the rifle, I could 
say more than might be expedient on the present occasion. In every 
thinly peopled portion of the State, it is rare to meet one without a gun 
of that description, as well as a tomahawk. By way of recreation, they 
often cut off a piece of the bark of a tree, make a target of it, using a 
little powder wetted with water or saliva, for the buU's eye, and shoot in- 
to the mark aU the balls they have about them, picking them out of the 
wood again. 

After what I have said, you may easily imagine with what ease a 
Kentuckian procures game, or dispatches an enemy, more especially when 
I tell you that every one in the State is accustomed to handle the rifle 
from the time when he is first able to shoulder it until near the close of 
his career. That murderous weapon is the means of procuring them sub- 
sistence duiing all their wild and extensive rambles, and is the source of 
their principal sports and pleasures. 

( 296 ) . 


Falco lineatus, Gmel. 

PLATE LVI. Male and Female. 

Although we are informed that a skin of this species has long ago 
been described in Europe, we are, in the same breath, told that nothing 
is known of the life and habits of the individual on the body of which it 
once shone in all its native glossiness. Nothing, kind reader : — the tar- 
nished coat only has been transmitted abroad ; and, like that belonging 
to many equally interesting species of the feathered tribe, has been ex- 
posed for sale in distant markets, where the purchaser has felt as little 
concern about the life of the individual to which it belonged, as purchasers 
of another kind usually feel about the former owners of the thread-bare 
vestments which we see offered for sale by the old-clothes'-men of St Giles's. 
Even Mr Alexander Wilson himself, knew nothing respecting the 
habits of this species ; and as other authors, ranking equally high with 
that pleasing writer, have unwittingly confounded it with another species, 
known in the United States by the name of the Winter Hawk, it is with 
satisfaction that I find myself in some degree quaUfied to give an account 
of the differences of habit between the two species. 

The Red-shouldered Hazel; or, as I would prefer calling it, the Red- 
breasted Hawk, although dispersed over the greater part of the United 
States, is rarely observed in the Middle Districts, where, on the contrary, 
the Winter Falcon usually makes its appearance from the north, at the 
approach of every autumn, and is of more common occurrence. Ken- 
tucky, Tennessee, and other Western States, with the most Southern 
Districts of our Union, are apparently best adapted for the constant resi- 
dence of the Red-shovildered Hawk, as in aU these latter districts it is met 
with in greater numbers than in any other. 

This bird is one of the most noisy of its genus, during spring espe- 
cially, when it would be difficult to approach the skirts of woods bordering 
a large plantation without hearing its discordant shrill notes, ka-hee, ka-hee, 
as it is seen sailing in rapid circles at a very great elevation. Its ordi- 
nary flight is even and protracted, excepting when it is describing the 


circles just mentioned, when it often dives and gambols. It is a more 
general inhabitant of the woods than most of our other species, particularly 
during the summer, and in autumn and winter; now and then only, in early 
spring, shewing itself in the open grounds, and about the vicinity of 
small lakes, for the purpose of securing Jled-winged Starlings and wound- 
ed Ducks, 

The interior of woods seems, as I have said, the fittest haunts for the 
Red-shouldered Hawk. He sails through them a few yards above the 
ground, and suddenly alights on the low branch of a tree, or the top of a 
dead stump, from which he silently watches, in an erect posture, for the 
appearance of squirrels, upon which he pounces directly and kills them 
in an instant, afterwards devouring them on the ground. If accidentally 
discovered, he essays to remove the squirrel, but finding this difficult, he 
drags it partly through the air and partly along the ground, to some short 
distance, until he conceives himself out of sight of the intruder, when he 
again commences feeding. The eating of a whole squirrel, which this 
bird often devours at one meal, so gorges it, that I have seen it in this 
state almost unable to fly, and with such an extraordinary protuberance 
on its breast as seemed very unnatural, and very injurious to the beauty 
of form which the bird usually displays. On all occasions, such as I have 
described, when the bird is so gorged, it is approached with the greatest 
ease. On the contrary, when it is in want of food, it requires the greatest 
caution to get within shooting distance of it. 

At the approach of spring, this species begins to pair, and its flight is 
accompanied with many circhngs and zigzag motions, during which it 
emits its shrill cries. The male is particularly noisy at this time. He 
gives chase to aU other Hawks, returns to the branch on which his mate 
has chanced to perch, and caresses her. This happens about the begin- 
ning of March. The spot adapted for a nest is already fixed upon, and 
the fabric is half finished. The top of a tall tree appears to be preferred 
by this Hawk, as I have found its nest more commonly placed there, not 
far from the edges of woods bordering plantations. The nest is seated in 
the forks of a large branch, towards its extremity^ and is as bulky as that 
of the Common Crow. It is formed externally of dry sticks and Spanish 
moss, and is lined with withered grass and fibrous roots of different sorts, 
arranged in a circular manner. The female usually lays four eggs, some- 
times five. They are of a broad oval form, granulated all over, pale blue, 
faintly blotched with brownislvred at the smaller end. 


When one ascends to the nest, which, by the way, is not always an 
easy matter, as our Beech-trees are not only very smooth, but frequently 
without any boughs to a considerable distance from the ground, as well 
as of rather large size, the female bird, if she happens to be sitting, flies 
off silently and alights on a neighbouring tree, to wait the result. JBut, 
should the male, who supplies her with food, and assists in incubation, 
be there, or make his appearance, he immediately sets up a hue and cry, 
and plunges towards the assailant with such violence as to astonish him. 
When, on several occasions, I have had the tree on which the nest was 
placed cut down, I have observed the same pair, a few days after, build 
another nest on a tree not far distant from the spot in which the first one 
had been. 

The mutual attachment of the male and the female continues during 
life. They usually hunt in pairs during the whole year ; and although 
they build a new nest every spring, they are fond of resorting to the same 
parts of the woods for that purpose. I knew the pair represented in the 
Plate for three years, and saw their nest each spring placed within a few 
hundred yards of the spot in which that of the preceding year was. 

The young remain in the nest until fully fledged, and are fed by the 
parents for several weeks after they have taken to wing, but leave them 
and begin to shift for themselves in about a month, when they disperse 
and hunt separately until the approach of the succeeding spring, at which 
time they pair. The young birds acquire the rusty reddish colour of the 
feathers on the breast and shoulders before they leave the nest. It deepens 
gradually at the approach of autumn, and by the first spring they com- 
pletely resemble the old birds. Only one brood is raised each season. 
Scarcely any difference of size exists between the sexes, the female being 
merely a little stouter. 

This Hawk seldom attacks any kind of poultry, and yet frequently 
pounces on Partridges, Doves, or Wild Pigeons, as well as Red- winged 
Starlings, and now and then very young rabbits. On one or two occa- 
sions, I have seen them make their appearance at the report of my gun, 
and try to rob me of some Blue-winged Teals shot in small ponds. I have 
never seen them chase any other small birds than those mentioned, or 
quadrupeds of smaller size than the Cotton Rat ; nor am I aware of their 
eating frogs, which are the common food of the Winter Falcon, an ac- 
count of which you will find, kind reader, in another part of this the first 
volume of my Biography of the Birds found in the ITnited States of 


Falco lineatus, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 268.— Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 27.— Wils. 

Amer. Ornith. voL vi. p. 86. PL 53, fig. 3. Young Male. 
Falco hyemalis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 33. 

Adult Male. Plate LVI. Fig. 1. 

BiU short, as broad as deep, the sides convex, the dorsal outline con- 
vex from the base ; upper mandible cerate, the edges blunt, slightly in- 
flected, with an obtuse lobe towards the curvature, the tip trigonal, de^ 
fleeted, verj acute ; lower mandible involute at the edges, a Uttle trun- 
cate at the end. Nostrils round, lateral, with a soft papiUa in the centre. 
Head rather large. Neck and body rather slender. Legs longish ; tar- 
sus rather slender, anteriorly scutellate ; toes scutellate above, scaly on 
the sides, scabrous and tuberculate beneath ; middle and outer toe con- 
nected at the base by a small membrane ; claws roundish, slender, cur- 
ved, very acute. 

Plumage compact, imbricated ; feathers of the head and neck narrow 
towards the tip, of the back broad and rounded ; tibial feathers elongated 
behind. Wings long, third and fourth primaries longest, first short. 

Bill light blue at the base, bluish-black at the tip; cere, basal margin 
of the biU, edges of the eyeUds, and the feet, bright yellow. Iris hazel. 
Claws black. Head, neck, and back, light yellowish-red, longitudinally 
spotted with dark brown. Tail brownish-black, banded with greyish- 
white, the tip of the latter colour. Lesser wing-coverts bright yellowish- 
red, spotted with brown ; larger coverts and secondary quills dusky, broad- 
ly barred with white ; primary quills brownish-black banded with white, 
the greater part of their inner webs being of the latter colour. Lower parts 
of the neck and under wing-coverts light yellowish-red, the former longitu- 
dinally hned with blackish; breast reddish- white, marked with transverse 
hastate yellowish-red spots ; abdomen and under tail-coverts reddish- 
white. Tibial feathers yellowish, transversely barred with dull orange. 

Length 18 inches; biU along the back 1^, along the gap from the 
tip of under mandible 11 ; tarsus 2|. 

Adult Female. Plate LVI. Fig. 1. 

The female differs from the male in being a little larger, and in hav- 
ing the tints lighter. 

( 300 ) 


PLATE LVII. Male akd Female. 

This species may with great propriety be called an inhabitant of the 
*' Low Countries," as it is seldom or never met with even in the vicinity 
of the mountains intersecting the districts in which it usually resides. It 
is also confined to that portion of our country usually known under the 
name of the Southern States, seldom reaching farther eastward than 
North Carolina, or farther inland than the State of Mississippi, in which 
latter, as well as in Louisiana, it appears only during the Avinter months. 
Its residence may, therefore, be looked upon as confined to the Floridas, 
Georgia, and the Carolinas. In these States, it is seen along the fences 
and bushes about the rice plantations, at all seasons, and is of some ser- 
vice to the planter, as it destroys the field-mice in great numbers, as well 
as many of the larger kinds of grubs and insects, upon which it pounces 
in the manner of a Hawk. 

The Loggerhead has no song, but utters a shrill clear creaking pro- 
longed note, resembling the grating of a rusty hinge slowly moved to 
and fro. This sound is heard only during the spring season, and whilst 
the fem.ale is sitting. About the beginning of March these birds begin 
to pair. They exhibit at this time few of those marks of the tender 
affection which birds usually shew. The male courts the female without 
much regard, and she, in return, appears to receive his haughty attentions 
with merely just as much condescension as enables her to become the 
mother of a family, whose feehngs are destined to be of the same cold 

The nest is fixed in a low bush, generally near the centre of a dwarf 
hawthorn, and is so little concealed as to be easily discovered. It is 
coarsely constructed of dry crooked twigs, and is lined with fibrous roots 
and slender grasses. The eggs, which are of a greenish white, are from 
three to five. Incubation is performed by the male as well as by the fe- 
male, but each searches for its own food during the intervals of sittino- 

The young are at first fed on crickets, grasshoppers, and other in- 
sects ; but as they become larger and stronger, they receive portions of 


mice, which form the principal food of the g^o^vn birds at all seasons. 
The Loggerheads rear only one brood in the season. 

Whilst this species is on wing, its motions are very rapid and direct, 
its flight being produced by quick flutterings of the wings, without any 
apparent undulation. The bird alights in a sudden firm manner, hke a 
Hawk, stands erect, silent and watchful, until it spies its prey on the 
ground, when it suddenly pounces upon it, striking it first loUh its bill, 
but seizing it with its claws so immediately after, that the most careful 
observation alone can enable one to decide as to the priority of either 
action. I have never seen it attack birds, nor stick its prey on thorns in 
the manner of the Great American Shrike. 

This bird appears in Louisiana only at intervals, and seldom remains 
more than a few weeks in December or January. It never comes near 
houses, although it frequents the fields around them. It has no note at 
this period, and appears singly, alighting on the stacks and fences, where 
it stands perched for a considerable time, carefully looking around over 
the ground. As soon as the spot is thoroughly examined, it flies ofi" to 
another, and there renews its search. 

I have given you, kind reader, the representation of a pair of these 
Shrikes, contending for a mouse. The difference of plumage in the sexes 
is scarcely perceptible ; but I have thought it necessary to figure both, 
in order to shew the quarrelsome disposition of these birds even when 
united by the hymeneal band. 

l^ANius LUDOViciANUS, Linn. Syst. Nat. voL L p. 134 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of 

Birds of the United States, p. 72- 
LoGGEHHEAD Shrike, LAifitJS CAKOLiNENSis, WUs. Amer. Omith. voL iii. p. 57. 

PI. 22. fig. 8. 

Adult Male. Plate LVII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, straightish, robust, acute, compressed ; upper 
mandible with the dorsal outline a little arched, the tip declinate, the 
edges acute and overlapping, with a sharp process near the tip ; lower 
mandible with the dorsal line a little convex, the tip acute and ascending. 
Nostrils basal, lateral, half closed by an arched membrane. Head large. 
Neck and body robust. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus scutellate be- 
fore, acute behind ; toes free, the lateral ones nearly equal ; claws arched, 
compressed, acute. 


Plumage soft, blended. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill. 
Wings of ordinary length, curved, the second quiU longest, the first and 
fifth equal. Tail long, graduated, of twelve rounded feathers. 

BiU black. Iris dark brown. Feet greyish-black. The general co- 
lour of the upper parts is dark grey, of the under greyish- white, the sides 
tinged with brown. Forehead and sides of the head included in a broad 
black band. Wings and tail black. Base of the primaries, and tips of 
the secondaries and six inner primaries, white. Tail-feathers, excepting 
the four middle ones, white towards the end, the outer ones nearly all of 
that colour. 

Length 8^ inches, extent of wings 13 ; bill along the ridge ^^, along 
the gap nearly 1 ; tarsus 1, middle toe ^g. 

Adult Female. Plate LVII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs from the male only in being a little smaller and 
somewhat darker and duller in the plumage. 

The Green Briar, or Round- leaved Smilax. 

Smilax rotundifolia, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 779. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. L 
p. 250. DiCEciA Hexandria, Lmn. Asparagi, Juss. 

This species of Smilax, which is common along fences, in old fields, 
and by the borders of woods, is characterized by its shrubby stem, rovmd 
branches, roundish-ovate, acuminate, slightly cordate, five or seven-nerved 
leaves, and spherical berries. It flowers in May and June. The berries 
are of a dark purple colour. 

The Field Mouse. 

This species is found in all parts of the United States, Living in the 
meadows and woods. It forms narrow subterranean passages, to which 
it resorts on the least appearance of danger, but from which it is easily 
driven, by thrusting a twig into them. 

( 303 ) 

?LATE LVIII. Male and Female. 

This, kind reader, is another constant resident in the Southern States, 
more especially those of Mississippi and Louisiana, where it abounds 
during the winter months, and is found in considerable numbers during 
spring and summer. In the lower parts of Kentucky, Indiana and 
Tennessee, it is also observed during spring and summer ; but it becomes 
scarcer as you advance towards the Middle Districts, where a few are oc- 
casionally seen about the low woodlands of the Atlantic shores. 

Except during winter, this Thrush prefers the darkest, most swampy, 
and most secluded cane-brakes along the margins of the Mississippi, 
where it breeds and spends the summer, retiring to higher lands during 
the period when the alluvial grounds are covered with the water which, 
during freshets, generally inundates these low cane-brakes and swampy 

The flight of the Hermit Thrush is performed low over the ground, 
and in a gliding manner, as the bird shifts from one place to another at 
a short distance. In this respect, it differs greatly from its relative, my 
great favourite, the Wood Thrush, the flight of which is more protract- 
ed, and is performed at a greater elevation. 

The Hermit Thrush has no song, and only utters a soft plaintive 
note, seldom heard at a greater distance than twenty-five or thirty yards. 
It is most frequently seen on the ground, where it hops with the same 
movements employed by the well-known little Red-breast of Europe, in 
other words, before it hops its breast almost comes in contact with the 
ground, the tail is a httle raised, the wings droop, and after hopping, it 
runs a few steps, erects its head, and looks around. 

All the nests of the Hermit Thrush which I have found were in every 
instance placed lower on the branches of trees than those of the Wood 
Thrush, seldom above seven or eight feet from the ground, and some- 
times so low that I could easily look into them. These nests were fixed 
to a horizontal bough, but were not saddled upon it so deeply as those of 
the Wood Thrush are. They were smaller, and had no mud or plaster of 
any kind, but were extremely compact, the outer parts being formed of 


coarse dry weeds, and here and there a withered leaf, the interior composed 
of a long delicate kind of grass, which is found growing along the edges of 
cane-brakes. This grass is arranged in a circular manner, to the whole 
extent of its length, and gives the inner part of the nest of this bird a 
remarkable appearance of neatness and finish. The female lays from 
four to six eggs, of a light blue colour, sprinkled with dark dots towards 
the large end. The first set are laid early in April, the second about 
the middle of June ; for, in Lower Louisiana, this species rears two 
broods in the year. The female is much attached to her nest, and glides 
off silently from it when closely approached, not, however, unless she 
thinks herself or her nest observed. The young run after the parents, 
on the ground, for several days after they leave the nest. 

As soon as the waters of the Mississippi become so swelled as to over- 
flow ihe banks, the Hermit Thrush retires to the nearest hills, and mixes 
with many other birds, amongst which the Wood Thrush is pre-eminent. 
The former is, however, easily recognised at once, by its single plaintive 
note, heard from the boughs of low trees, on the berries of which it feeds. 
In fact, its food is altogether composed of different fruits and berries, 
which are at all seasons abundant in our woods. 

The branches so thickly covered with duU red berries, and upon 
which two Hermit Thrushes are seen, belong to a shrub which grows in 
the swampy recesses preferred by these birds. Its leaves fall off at an 
early period, and are of an ovato-lanceolate form, thin consistence, and 
deep green colour, their under surface hght grey. The common name 
of it is Robin Wood. It seldom grows taller than from seven to eight 
feet, and all the branches, in a favourable season, are thickly covered 
with the berries, on which many birds, besides the Turdus migratorius, 
from which it seems to have derived its common name, are seen to feed.' 

Turdus minor, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol i. p. 809 — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of 
the United States, p. 75 Lath. Ind. Omitli. vol. i. p 328. 

Little Thrush, Lath. Synops. voL iii. p. 20. 

Hermit Thrush, Turdits solitarius, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. v. p. 95, PL 43. 
fig- 2. 

Adult Male. Plate LVIIL Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, compressed towards the end ; 
upper mandible with the dorsal outline a little convex, the tip slightly 
declinate, the margins acute, inflected towards the end, slightly notched 


close upon the tip ; lower mandible slightly convex in its dorsal line, the 
tip rather obtuse. Head of ordinary size ; neck and body rather slender. 
Feet rather long ; tarsus longish, compressed, slender, anteriorly covered 
with a few elongated, indistinct scutella, posteriorly edged, longer than 
the middle toe ; toes scutellate above, lateral ones almost equal, the outer 
connected as far as the second joint. 

Plumage rather loose. A few longish bristles at the base of the up- 
per mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the third quill longest, the 
first very short. Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad feathers, the 
shaft of which projects a little beyond the extremity of the webs, as is the 
case with the outer primaries. 

BiU dark brown, yellowish towards the base of the lower mandible. 
Iris hazel. Feet flesh-colour. The general colour of the upper parts is 
light yellowish-brown, changing on the rump and tail into dull yellowish- 
red. Quills dusky, margined externally with yellowish-brown. Primary 
coverts yellowish-brown, dusky at the end ; secondary coverts tipped 
with yellowish-red. Under parts greyish-white, the neck and breast 
spotted with dark brown. 

Length 7 inches, extent of wings 10 j ; bill along the ridge ,'^3, along 
the gap § ; tarsus 1 J. 

Adult Female. Plate LVIII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs only in having the spots on the breast somewhat 
larger, and the tints of the upper parts rather deeper. 


( 306 ) 


Sylvia icTEROCEPHALA, Lath. 

PLATE LIX. Malk and Female. 

\X In the beginning of May 1808, I shot five of these birds, on a very 
cold morning, near Potts-grove, in the State of Pennsylvania. There was 
a slight fall of snow at the time, although the Peach and Apple trees were 
already in full bloom. I have never met with a single individual of this 
species since. They all had their wings drooping, as if suffering severely 
from the sudden change of the weather, and had betaken themselves to the 
lower rails of a fence, where they were engaged in searching after insects, 
particularly spiders. I procured every one of those which I met with 
that morning, and which were five in number, two of them males, and the 
rest females. 

Where this species goes to breed I am unable to say, for to my in- 
quiries on this subject I never received any answers which might have 
led me to the districts resorted to by it. I can only suppose, that if it 
is at all plentiful in any portion of the United States, it must be far to 
the northward, as I ransacked the borders of Lake Ontario, and those of 
Lakes Erie and Michigan, without meeting with it. I do not know of 
any naturahst who lias been more fortunate, otherwise I should here quote 
his observations. 

The females had the ovaries furnished with numerous eggs, about the 
size of the head of a common pin. The stomach of all the birds which I 
killed contained some grass seeds of the preceding year, and a few small 
black spiders ; but the birds appeared half-starved. Having procured 
them near the ground, I have placed them on a plant which grows about 
the fields, and flowers in the beginning of May. 

Sylvia ictebocephala, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 538. — Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. 

of Birds of the United States, p. 80. 
Motacilla icterocephala, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 334. 
Quebec Warbler, Lath. Synops. vol. iv. p. 484 
Chestnut-sided A\''arbleb, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 99. PI. 14. fig. 5. 

Adult Male. Plate LIX. Fig. 1. 


Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, near- 
ly as deep as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap-line slightly de- 
flected at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a mem- 
brane. Head of ordinary size. Neck short. Body slender. Feet of or- 
dinary length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered ante- 
riorly by a few scutella, acutely edged behind ; toes scutellate above, the 
inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, compressed, acute, 

Plumage soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the 
second quill longest. Tail short, shghtly notched. 

Bill light blue, blackish above. Iris hazel. Feet dusky. Forehead 
white ; upper part of the head bright yellow. Loral space, and two lines 
proceeding from it, one over and behind the eye, the other downwards, 
black. Back dusky green, spotted with black, as are the lesser wing- 
coverts, the larger broadly tipped with bright yellow, excepting those of 
the primary quills, which are dusky. Primaries dusky, edged externally 
with light blue, as is the tail. Under parts white ; side of the lower neck 
and body under the wings deep chestnut. 

Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 8 ; bill along the ridge j^^, along 
the gap y^g ; tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate LIX. Fig. 2. 
The female is considerably smaller, but is coloured nearly in the same 
manner as the male. The chestnut patch on the sides is of less extent, and 
the primaries are yellow, instead of blue, on their outer webs. 

The Moth Mullein. 

Verbascubi Blattaria, Willd. Sp. PL vol. i. p. 1005. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. i. 
p. 142, Smith. Engl. Flor. vol. i. p. 513 Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. So- 


A biennial plant, distinguished from the other species of the same 
genus by its amplexicaul ovato-oblong, rugose, serrated, glabrous leaves, 
and one-flowered solitary pedicels. The ordinary colour of the flowers is 
yellow, but the plant represented is of a variety with larger whitish or 
pale rose-coloured flowers. It grows in fields and by roads, and is of com- 
mon occurrence. 

u 2 

( 308 ) 


Sylvia carbonate. 

PLATE LX. Male. ^^^ j , 

I SHOT the two little birds here represented, near the village of Hen- 
derson, in the State of Kentucky, in May 1811. They were both busily 
engaged in searching for insects along the branches and amongst the 
leaves of a Doff-wood tree. Their motions were those common to all the 
species of the genus Sylvia. On examination, they were found to be both 
males. I am of opinion, that they were both young birds of the prece- 
ding year, and not in fuU plumage, as they had no part of their dress 
seemingly complete, excepting the head. Not having met with any other 
individuals of the species, I am at this moment unable to say any thing 
more about them. They were drawn, like all the other birds which I 
have represented, immediately after being killed ; but the branch on 
which you see them was not added until the following summer. 

The common name of this plant is Service Tree. It seldom attains a 
greater height than thirty or forty feet, and is usually found in hilly 
ground of secondary quality. The berries are agreeable to the taste, and 
are sought after by many species of birds, amongst which the Red-headed 
Woodpecker is very conspicuous. 

Sylvia carbonata. 

Young Male. Plate LX. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, 
nearly as deep as broad at the base, the edges acute, the gap line slightly 
deflected at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a 
membrane. Head rather small. Neck short. Body slender. Feet of 
ordinary length, slender ; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered an- 
teriorly by a few scuteUa, acutely-edged behind ; toes scuteUate above, 
the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size ; claws slender, compressed, 
acute, arched. 

Plumage, soft, blended, tufty. Wings of ordinary length, acute, the 
second quill longest. Tail short, notched. 


Bill brownish-black above, light blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet 
light flesh-colour. Upper part of the head black. Fore part of the 
back, lesser wing-coverts and sides dusky, spotted with black. Lower 
back dull yellowish-green, as is the tail, of which the outer web of the 
outer feather is whitish. Tips of the second row of coverts white, of the 
first row yellow ; quills dusky, their outer webs tinged with yellow. A 
line from the lore over the eye, sides of the neck, and the throat, bright 
yellow. A dusky line behind the eye. The rest of the under parts dull 
yellow, excepting the sides. 

Length 4| inches ; bill along the ridge ^^, along the gap ^^ ; 
tarsus |. 

The May-bush ob Sbrvicb. 

Pyrus Botryapium, Willd. Sp. PL vol. ii. p. 1013. Pursht Flor. Amer. voL i. p. 339. 
IcosANDRiA Pentagynia, Linn. Rosacea, </mm. 

This species is distinguished by its ovate, acuminate leaves, racemose 
flowers, linear-lanceolate petals, pubescent germens, and smooth calycine 

( 310 ) 


On a journey from Louisville to Henderson in Kentucky, performed 
during very severe winter weather, in company with a foreigner, the ini- 
tials of whose name are D. T., my companion spying a beautiful animal, 
marked with black and pale yellow, and having a long and bushy tail, 
exclaimed, " Mr Audubon, is not that a beautiful squirrel P" " Yes," I 
answered, " and of a kind that will suffer you to approach it, and lay 
hold of it, if you are weU gloved." Mr D. T. dismounting, took up a 
dry stick, and advanced toward the pretty animal, with his large cloak 
floating in the breeze. I think I see him approach, and laying the stick 
gently across the body of the animal, try to secure it ; and I can yet 
laugh almost as heartily as I then did, when I plainly saw the discomfi- 
ture of the traveller. The Pole-cat, (for a true Pole-cat it was, the 
Mephitis americana of zoologists), raised its fine bushy tail, and shower- 
ed such a discharge of the fluid given him by nature as a defence, that 
my friend, dismayed and infuriated, began to belabour the poor animal. 
The swiftness and good management of the Pole-cat, however, saved its 
bones, and as it made its retreat towards its hole, it kept up at every 
step a continued ejectment, which fully convinced the gentleman that the 
pursuit of such squirrels as these was at the best an vmprofi table employ- 

This was not all, however. I could not suffer his approach, nor 
could my horse ; it was with difficulty he mounted his own ; and we 
were forced to continue our journey far asunder, and he much to leeward. 
Nor did the matter end here. We could not proceed much farther that 
night ; as, in the first place, it was nearly dark when we saw the Pole- 
cat, and as, in the second place, a heavy snow-storm began, and almost 
impeded our progress. We were forced to make for the first cabin we 
saw. Having asked and obtained permission to rest for the night, we 
dismounted and found ourselves amongst a crowd of men and women 
who had met for the purpose of corn-shucking. 

To a European who has not visited the western parts of the United 
States, an explanation of this corn-shucking may not be unacceptable. 


Corn (ox- you may prefer calling it maize) is gathered in the husk, that 
is, by breaking each large ear from the stem. These ears are first thrown 
into heaps in the field, and afterwards carried in carts to the barn, or, as 
in this instance, and in such portions of Kentucky, to a shed made of the 
blades or long leaves that hang in graceful curves from the stalk, and 
which, when plucked and dried, are used instead of hay as food for horses 
and cattle. The husk consists of several thick leaves rather longer than 
the corn-ear itself, and which secure it from the weather. It is quite a 
labour to detach these leaves from the ear, when thousands of bushels of 
the corn are gathered and heaped together. For this purpose, however, 
and in the western country more especially, several neighbouring famiUes 
join alternately at each other's plantations, and assist in clearing away the 
husks, thus preparing the maize for the market or for domestic use. 

The good people whom we met with at this hospitable house, were on 
the point of going to the barn (the farmer here being in rather good con- 
dition) to work until towards the middle of the night. When we had 
stood the few stares to which strangers must accustom themselves, no 
matter where, even in a drawing-room, we approached the fire. What 
a shock for the whole party ! The scent of the Pole-cat, that had been 
almost stifled on my companion's vestments by the cold of the evening 
air, now recovered its primitive strength. The cloak was put out of the 
house, but its owner could not be well used in the same way. The com- 
pany, however, took to their heels, and there only remained a single 
black servant, who waited on us until supper was served. 

I felt vexed at myself, as I saw the good traveller displeased. But 
he had so much good breeding as to treat this important aifair with great 
forbearance, and merely said he was sorry for his want of knowledge in 
zoology. The good gentleman, however, was not only deficient in 
zoological lore, but, fresh as he was from Europe, felt more than uneasy 
in this out-of-the-way house, and would have proceeded towards my own 
house that night, had I not at length succeeded in persuading him that 
he was in perfect security. 

We were shewn to bed. As I was almost a stranger to him, and he 
to me, he thought it a very awkward thing to be obliged to lie in the 
same bed with me, but afterwards spoke of it as a happy circumstance, 
and requested that I should suffer him to be placed next the logs, think- 
ing, no doubt, that there he should run no risk. 


We started by break of day, taking with us the frozen cloak, and 
after passing a pleasant night in my own house, we parted. Some years 
after, I met my Kentucky companion in a far distant land, when he 
assured me, that whenever the sun shone on his cloak, or it was brought 
near a fire, the scent of the Pole-cat became so perceptible, that he at last 
gave it to a poor monk in Italy. 

The animal commonly known in America by the name of Pole-cat is 
about a foot and a half in length, with a large bushy tail, nearly as long 
as the body. The colour is generally brownish-black, with a large white 
patch on the back of the head ; but there are many varieties of colour- 
ing, in some of which the broad white bands of the back are very con- 
spicuous. The Pole-cat burrows, or forms a subterranean habitation 
among the roots of trees, or in rocky places. It feeds on birds, young 
hares, rats, mice, and other animals, and commits great depredations on 
poultry. The most remarkable peculiarity of this animal is the power, 
alluded to above, of squirting for its defence a most nauseously scented 
fluid contained in a receptacle situated under the tail, which it can do to 
the distance of several yards. It does not, however, for this purpose, 
sprinkle its tail with the fluid, as some allege, unless when extremely ha- 
rassed by its enemies. The Pole-cat is frequently domesticated. The 
removal of the glands prevents the secretion of the nauseous fluid, and 
when thus improved, the animal becomes a great favourite, and performs 
the offices of the common cat with great dexterity. 

( 313 ) 


Strix virginiana, Gmel. 

PLATE LXI. Male and Fesiale. 

It is during the placid serenity of a beautiful summer night, when 
the current of the waters moves silently along, reflecting from its smooth 
surface the silver radiance of the moon, and when aU else of animated na- 
ture seems sunk in repose, that the Great Horned Owl, one of the Nimrods 
of the feathered tribes of our forests, may be seen sailing silently and 
yet rapidly on, intent on the destruction of the objects destined to form 
his food. The lone steersman of the descending boat observes the noc- 
turnal hunter, gliding on extended pinions across the river, saihng over 
one hill and then another, or suddenly sweeping downwards, and again 
rising in the air hke a moving shadow, now distinctly seen, and again 
minghng with the sombre shades of the surrounding woods, fading into 
obscurity. The bark has now floated to some distance, and is opposite 
the newly cleared patch of ground, the result of a squatter's first at- 
tempt at cultivation, in a place lately shaded by the trees of the forest. 
The moon shines brightly on his hut, his slight fence, the newly planted 
orchard, and a tree, which, spared by the axe, serves as a roosting-place 
for the scanty stock of poultry which the new comer has procured from 
some Uberal neighbour. Amongst them rests a Turkey-hen, covering 
her ofl^spring with extended wings. The Great Owl, with eyes keen as 
those of any falcon, is now seen hovering above the place. He has al- 
ready espied the quarry, and is saihng in wide circles meditating his 
plan of attack. The Turkey-hen, which at another time might be sound 
asleep, is now, however, so intent on the care of her young brood, that 
she rises on her legs and purs so loudly, as she opens her wings and 
spreads her tail, that she rouses her neighbours, the hens, together with 
their protector. The cackhngs which they at first emit soon become a 
general clamour. The squatter hears the uproar, and is on his feet in an in- 
stant, rifle in hand ; the priming examined, he gently pushes open his half 
closed door, and peeps out cautiously, to ascertain the cause by which 
liis repose has been disturbed. He observes the murderous Owl just 
alighting on the dead branch of a tall tree, when, raising his never-failing 


rifle, he takes aim, touches the trigger, and the next instant sees the foe 
faUing dead to the ground. The bird is unworthy of his farther atten- 
tion, and is left a prey to some prowhng oppossum or other carnivorous 
quadruped. Again, all around is tranquillity. In this manner falls 
many a Great Horned Owl on our frontiers, where the species abounds. 

Differences of locaUty are no security against its depredations, for it 
occurs in the highest mountainous districts, as well as in the low alluvial 
lands that border the rivers, in the interior of the country, and in the 
neighbourhood of the sea^shore. Every where it finds abundance of food. 
It is, moreover, an extremely hardy bird, and stands the severest winters 
of our northernmost latitudes. It is consequently found dispersed over 
all parts of the United States. 

The flight of the Great Horned Owl is elevated, rapid and graceful. 
It sails with apparent ease, and in large circles, in the manner of an eagle, 
rises and descends without the least difficulty, by merely inchning its 
wings or its tail, as it passes through the air. Now and then, it glides 
silently close over the earth, with incomparable velocity, and drops, as if 
shot dead, on the prey beneath. At other times, it suddenly alights on 
the top' of a fence-stake or a dead stump, shakes its feathers, arranges 
them, and utters a skriek so horrid that the woods around echo to its dis- 
mal sound. Now, it seems as if you heard the barking of a cur-dog ; 
again, the notes are so rough and mingled together, that they might be 
mistaken for the last gurglings of a murdered person, striving in vain to 
call for assistance ; at another time, when not more than fifty yards dis- 
tant, it utters its more usual hoo, hoo, Jtoo-e, in so peculiar an under tone, 
that a person unacquainted with the notes of this species might easily 
-conceive them to be produced by an Owl more than a mile distant. Du- 
ring the utterance of all these unmusical cries, it moves its body, and 
more particularly its head, in various ways, putting them into positions, 
all of which appear to please it much, however grotesque they may seem 
to the eye of man. In the interval following each cry, it snaps its biU, 
as if by way of amusement ; or, like the wild boar sharpening the edges 
of his tusks, it perhaps expects that the action will whet its mandibles. 

The food of the Great Horned Owl consists chiefly of the larger spe- 
cies of gallinaceous birds, half-grown Wild Turkeys, Pheasants, and do- 
mestic poultry of all kinds, together with several species of Ducks. 
Hares, yovmg Oppossums and Squirrels are equally agreeable to it, and 


whenever chance throws a dead fish on the shore, the Great Owl feeds 
with pecuhar avidity on it. 

It is one of the most common species along the shores of the Ohio 
and Mississippi, where it is to be met with at all seasons, being fond of 
roosting amongst the thick-growing young cotton- wood trees and willows, 
that cover the muddy sand-bars of these noble streams, as well as in the 
more retired woody swamps, where the gloomy cypress spreads its broad 
arms, covered with dangling masses of Spanish beard, which give way 
to the gentlest breeze. In both such situations I have frequently met 
with this owl : its body erect, its plumage closed, its tufted head-feathers 
partially lowered, and its head half turned and resting on one shoul- 

When the sun shines brightly, the bird is easily approached ; but if 
the weather be cloudy, it rises on its feet, at the least noise, erects the 
tufts of its head, gives a knowing kind of nod, flies off in an instant, 
and generally proceeds to such a distance that it is difficult to find it 
again. When disturbed while at roost on willows near a river, it sails 
off low over the stream, as if aware that by so doing it renders its pur- 
suit more difficult. I once nearly lost my life by going towards one that 
I had shot on a willow-bar, for, while running up to the spot, I suddenly 
found myself sunk in quicksand up to my arm-pits, and in this condi- 
tion must have remained to perish, had not my boatmen come up and 
extricated me, by forming a bridge of their oars and some driftwood, 
-during which operation I had to remain perfectly quiet, as any struggle 
would soon have caused me to sink overhead. 

I have related this occurrence to you, kind reader, — and it is only 
one out of many, — to shew you that every student of nature must en- 
counter some difficulties in obtaining the objects of his research, although 
these difficidties are little thought of when he has succeeded. So much 
is this the case with me, that, could I renew the lease of my life, I could 
not desire to spend it in any other pursuit than that which has at last 
enabled me to lay before you an account of the habits of our birds. 

Early in February the Great Horned Owls are seen to pair. The 
curious evolutions of the male in the air, or his motions when he has 
alighted near his beloved, it is impossible to describe. His bowings, and 
the snappings of his bill, are extremely ludicrous ; and no sooner is the 
female assured that the attentions paid her by the beau are the result of a 
sincere affection, than she joins in the motions of her future mate. At this 


juncture both might be said to be dancing mad, httle dreaming, Hke most 
owls on such occasions, of the possibility of their being one day horn- 

The nest, which is very bulky, is usually fixed on a large horizontal 
branch, not far from the trunk of the tree. It is composed externally of 
crooked sticks, and is lined with coarse grasses and some feathers. The 
whole measures nearly three feet in diameter. The eggs, which are from 
three to six, are almost globular in form, and of a duU white colour. 
The male assists the female in sitting on the eggs. Only one brood is 
raised in the season. The young remain in the nest until fully fledged, 
and afterwards follow the parents for a considerable time, uttering a 
mournful sound, to induce them to supply them with food. They ac- 
quire the full plumage of the old birds in the first spring, and until then 
are considerably lighter, with more dull buff in their tints. I have found 
nests belonging to this species in large hollows of decayed trees, and 
twice in the fissures of rocks. In all these cases, little preparation had 
been made previous to the laying of the eggs, as I found only a few 
grasses and feathers placed under them. 

The Great Horned Owl lives retired, and it is seldom that more than 
one is found in the neighbourhood of a farm, after the breeding season ; 
but as almost every detached farm is visited by one of these dangerous 
and powerful marauders, it may be said to be abundant. The havock 
which it commits is very great. I have known a plantation almost 
stripped of the whole of the poultry raised upon it during spring, by one 
of these daring foes of the feathered race, in the course of the ensuing 

This species is very powerful, and equally spirited. It attacks Wild 
Turkeys when half-grown, and often masters them. Mallards, Guinea- 
fowls, and common barn fowls, prove an easy prey, and on seizing 
them it carries them off in its talons from the farm-yards to the interior 
of the woods. When wounded, it exhibits a revengeful tenacity of spirit, 
scarcely surpassed by any of the noblest of the Eagle tribe, disdaining to 
scramble away like the Barred Owl, but facing its enemy with undaunted 
courage, protruding its powerful talons, and snapping its bill, as long as 
he continues in its presence. On these occasions, its large goggle eyes 
are seen to open and close in quick succession, and the feathers of its 
body, being raised, swell out its apparent bulk to nearly double the na- 
tural size. 


You have before you, kind reader, a male and a female of this 
species, which I hope will give you a more perfect idea of the size and 
form of the Great Horned Owl than any description could do. 

Strix virginiana, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 287 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 32 — 

Ch. Bmiaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 37. 
Virginian Eared Owl, Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 119. 
Great Horned Owl, Strix virginiana, Wilson, Americ. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 52. 

PI. 50. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate LXI. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, compressed, curved, acute, with a cere at the base ; upper 
mandible with its dorsal outline curved from the base, the edges acute, 
the point trigonal, very acute, deflected ; lower mandible with the edges 
acute and inflected, obtuse at the tip. Nostrils oval, in the fore part of 
the cere. Head disproportionately large, as are the eyes and external 
ears. Body short. Legs of ordinary length ; tarsus and toes feathered ; 
toes papillar and tuberculate beneath ; claws curved, rounded, long, ex- 
tremely sharp. 

Plumao-e very soft and downy, somewhat distinct above, tufty and 
loose beneath. Long bristly feathers at the base of the bill, stretching 
forwards. Eyes surrounded by circles of compact feathers ; auricular 
coverts forming a ruff". Two erectile tufts of feathers on the head, one 
on each side. Wings ample, the fourth quill longest, the first short. 
Tail of ordinary length, rounded, of twelve broad feathers. 

Bill black. Iris yellow. Claws black. Upper part of the head brownish- 
black mottled with light brown, the tufts or horns of the same colour, 
margined with brown. Face brownish-red, with a circle of blackish- 
brown. The upper parts are undulatingly banded and minutely mottled 
with brownish-black and brownish-red, the ground colour on the lower 
part of the back tinged with grey. Wings and tail light brownish- 
yellow, barred and mottled with blackish-brown and light brownish-red. 
Chin white, upper part of the throat light reddish, spotted with black, 
a band of white across the middle of the fore neck ; lower fore neck and 
breast light yellowish-red, barred with deep brown, as are the under parts 
generally, some of the feathers being nearly white, but barred ; several 
longitudinal brownish-black patches on the lower fore neck ; tarsal 
feathers light yellowish-red, obscurely barred. 


Length 23 inches ; extent of wings 56 ; bill along the ridge 2 ; tufts 
on the head 3. . 

Adult Female. Plate LXVI. Fig. 2. 

The female is considerably larger than the male, and is duller and 
lighter in colouring, although the distribution of the tints is similar. The 
white of the chin is less pure, and the broad band of the same colour on 
the fore neck is wanting. 

( J^ly ) 


PLATE LXII. Male and Female. 

The Passenger Pigeon, or, as it is usually named in America, the 
Wild Pigeon, moves with extreme rapidity, propelling itself by quickly 
repeated flaps of the wings, which it brings more or less near to the body, 
according to the degree of velocity which is required. Like the Domestic 
Pigeon, it often flies, during the love season, in a circling manner, sup- 
porting itself with both wings angularly elevated, in which position it 
keeps them until it is about to alight. Now and then, during these cir- 
cular flights, the tips of the primary quills of each wing are made to strike 
against each other, producing a smart rap, which may be heard at a dis- 
tance of thirty or forty yards. Before alighting, the Wild Pigeon, like 
the Carolina Parrot and a few other species of birds, breaks the force of 
its flight by repeated flappings, as if apprehensive of receiving injury 
from coming too suddenly into contact with the branch or the spot of 
sround on which it intends to settle. 

I have commenced my description of this species with the above ac- 
count of its flight, because the most important facts connected with its 
habits relate to its migrations. These are entirely owing to the necessity 
of procuring food, and are not performed with the view of escaping the 
severity of a northern latitude, or of seeking a southern one for the pur- 
pose of breeding. They consequently do not take place at any fixed 
period or season of the year. Indeed, it sometimes happens that a con- 
tinuance of a sufficient supply of food in one district will keep these birds 
absent from another for years. I know, at least, to a certainty, that in 
Kentucky they remained for several years constantly, and were nowhere 
else to be found. They all suddenly disappeared one season when the 
mast was exhausted, and did not return for a long period. Similar facts 
have been observed in other States. _ 

Their great power of flight enables them to survey and pass over an 
astonishing extent of country in a very short time. This is proved by 
facts well known in America. Thus, Pigeons have been killed in the 
neighbourhood of New York, with their crops full of rice, which they 


must have collected in the fields of Georgia and Carolina, these districts 
being the nearest in which they could possibly have procured a supply of 
that kind of food. As their power of digestion is so great that they will 
decompose food entirely in twelve hours, they must in this case have 
travelled between three hundred and four hundred miles in six hours, 
which shews their speed to be at an average about one mile in a minute. 
I A velocity such as this would enable one of these birds, were it so in- 
\ clined, to visit the European continent in less than three days. 

This great power of flight is seconded by as great a power of vision, 
which enables them, as they travel at that swift rate, to inspect the country 
below, discover their food with facility, and thus attain the object for 
which their journey has been undertaken. This I have also proved to 
be the case, by having observed them, when passing over a sterile part 
of the country, or one scantily furnished with food suited to them, keep 
high in the air, flying with an extended front, so as to enable them to 
survey hundreds of acres at once. On the contrary, when the land is 
richly covered with food, or the trees abundantly hung with mast, they 
fly low, in order to discover the part most plentifully suppUed. 

Their body is of an elongated oval form, steered by a long well- 
plumed tail, and propelled by well-set wings, the muscles of which are 
very large and powerful for the size of the bird. When an individual is 
seen gliding through the woods and close to the observer, it passes Hke a 
thought, and on trying to see it again, the eye searches in vain ; the bird 
is gone. 

The mvdtitudes of Wild Pigeons in our woods are astonishing. In- 
deed, after having viewed them so often, and under so many circum- 
stances, I even now feel inclined to pause, and assure myself that what 
I am going to relate is fact. Yet I have seen it all, and that too in the 
company of persons who, like myself, were struck with amazement. 
'"'^ In the autumn of 1813, I left my house at Henderson, on the banks 
of the Ohio, on my way to Louisville. In passing over the Barrens a 
few miles beyond Hardensburgh, I observed the pigeons flying from 
north-east to south-west, in greater numbers than I thought I had ever 
seen them before, and feeling an inclination to count the flocks that might 
pass within the reach of my eye in one hour, I dismounted, seated myself 
on an eminence, and began to mark with my pencil, making a dot for 
every flock that passed. In a short time finding the task which I had 
undertaken impracticable, as the birds poured in in countless multitudes. 


I rose, and counting the dots then put down, found that 163 had been 
made in twenty-one minutes. I travelled on, and still met more the far- 
ther I proceeded. The air was literally filled with Pigeons ; the light of 
noon-day was obscured as by an eclipse ; the dung fell in spots, not un- , 
like melting flakes of snow ; and the continued buzz of wings had a ten- 
dency to lull my senses to repose. > 

Whilst waiting for dinner at Young's inn, at the confluence of Salt- 
River with the Ohio, I saw, at my leisure, immense legions still going 
by, with a front reaching far beyond the Ohio on the west, and the 
beech-wood forests directly on the east of me. Not a single bird 
alighted ; for not a nut or acorn was that year to be seen in the neigh- 
bourhood. They consequently flew so high, that diff'erent trials to reach 
them with a capital rifle proved ineffectual ; nor did the reports disturb 
them in the least. I cannot describe to you the extreme beauty of their 
aerial evolutions, when a Hawk chanced to press upon the rear of 
a flock. At once, like a torrent, and with a noise like thunder, they 
rushed into a compact mass, pressing upon each other towards the centre. 
In these almost solid masses, they darted forward in undulating and 
angular lines, descended and swept close over the earth with inconceivable 
velocity, mounted perpendicularly so as to resemble a vast column, and, 
when high, were seen wheeling and twisting within their continued lines, 
which then resembled the coils of a gigantic serpent. ^ 

Before sunset I reached Louisville, distant from Hardensburgh fifty- 
five miles. The Pigeons were still passing in undiminished numbers, 
and continued to do so for three days in succession. The people were 
all in arms. The banks of the Ohio were crowded with men and boys, 
incessantly shooting at the pilgrims, which there flew lower as they passed 
the river. Multitudes were thus destroyed. For a week or more, the 
population fed on no other flesh than that of Pigeons, and talked of no^ 
thing but Pigeons. The atmosphere, during this time, was strongly iui-, ^ 
pregnated with the peculiar odour which emanates from the species. ^. 

It is extremely interesting to see flock after flock performing exactly 
the same evolutions which had been traced as it were in the air by a pre- 
ceding flock. Thus, should a Hawk have charged on a group at a cer- 
tain spot, the angles, curves, and undulations that have been described by 
the birds, in their effbrts to escape from the dreaded talons of the plun- 
derer, are uildeviatingly followed by the next group that comes up; 
Should the bystander happen to witness one of these afli-ays, and, struck 



with the rapidity and elegance of the motions exhibited, feel desirous of 
seeing them repeated, his wishes will be gratified if he only remain in 
the place imtil the next group comes up. 

' It may not, perhaps, be out of place to attempt an estimate of the 
-number of Pigeons contained in one of those mighty flocks, and of the 
quantity of food daily consumed by its members. The inquiry will tend 
to shew the'astonishing bounty of the great Author of Natvu-e in providing 
for the wants of his creatures. Let us take a column of one mile in 
breadth, which is far below the average size, and suppose it passing over 
us without interruption for three hours, at the rate mentioned above of 
one mile in the minute. This will give us a parallelogram of 180 miles 
by 1 , covering 180 square miles. Allowing two pigeons to the square 
yard, we have One billion, one hundred and fifteen millions, one hundred 
and thirty-six thousand pigeons in one flock. As every pigeon daily 
consumes fully half a pint of food, the quantity necessary for supplying 
this vast multitude must be eight millions seven hundred and twelve 
thousand bushels per day. 
■" — As soon as the Pigeons discover a sufficiency of food to entice them 
to alight, they fly round in circles, reviewing the country below. During 
their evolutions, on such occasions, the dense mass which they form ex- 
hibits a beautiful appearance, as it changes its direction, now displaying a 
glistening sheet of azure, when the backs of the birds come simultane- 
ously into view, and anon, suddenly presenting a mass of rich deep pur- 
ple. They then pass lower, over the woods, and for a moment are lost 
among the foliage, but again emerge, and are seen gliding aloft. They 
now alight, but the next moment, as if suddenly alarmed, they take 
to wing, producing by the flappings of their wings a noise like the 
roar of distant thunder, and sweep through the forests to see if danger 
is near. Hunger, however, soon brings them to the ground. When 
alighted, they are seen industriously throwing up the withered leaves in 
quest of the fallen mast. The rear ranks are continually rising, passing 
over the main-body, and alighting in front, in such rapid succession, that 
the whole flock seems still on wing. The quantity of ground thus 
swept is astonishing, and so completely has it been cleared, that the 
gleaner who might follow in their rear would find his labour completely 
lost. Whilst feeding, their avidity is at times so great that in attempt- 
ing to swallow a large acorn or nut, they a,re seen gasping for a long 
while, as if in the agonies of suffbcation. 


On such occasions, when the woods are filled with these Pigeons, they 
are killed in immense numbers, although no apparent diminution ensvies. 
About the middle of the day, after their repast is finished, they settle on 
the trees, to enjoy rest, and digest their food. On the ground they 
walk with ease, as well as on the branches, frequently jerking their beau- 
tiful tail, and moving the neck backwards and forwards in the most grace- 
ful manner. As the sun begins to sink beneath the horizon, they depart 
en masse for the roosting-place, which not unfrequently is hundreds of 
miles distant, as has been ascertained by persons who have kept an ac- 
count of their arrivals and departures. _ V 
Let us now, kind reader, inspect their place of nightly rendezvous. , 
One of these curious roosting-places, on the banks of the Green River in \. 
Kentucky, I repeatedly visited. It was, as is always the case, in a por- \ 
lion of the forest where the trees were of great magnitude, and where \ 
there was little underwood. I rode through it upwards of forty miles, | 
and, crossing it in different parts, found its average breadth to be rather i 
more than three miles. My first view of it was about a fortnight subse- 
quent to the period when they had made choice of it, and I arrived there 
nearly two hours before sunset. Few Pigeons were then to be seen, but 
a great number of persons, with horses and waggons, guns and ammuni- 
tion, had already established encampments^on the borders. Two farmers 
from the vicinity of Russelsville, distant more than a hundred miles, had 
driven upwards of three hundred hogs to be fattened on the pigeons 
which were to be slaughtered. Here and there, the people employed in 
plucking and salting what had already been procured, were seen sit- / 
ting in the midst of large piles of these birds. The dung lay several i 
inches deep, covering the whole extent of the roosting-place, like | 
a bed of snow. Many trees two feet in diameter, I observed, were • 
broken off^ at no great distance from the ground ; and the branches of | 
many of the largest and tallest had given way, as if the forest had been j 
swept by a tornado. Every thing proved to me that the number of birds i 
resorting to this part of the forest must be immense beyond conception. j 
As the period of their arrival approached, their foes anxiously prepared ' 
to receive them. Some Avere furnished with iron-pots containing sulphur, 
others with torches of pine-knots, many with poles, and the rest with 
guns. The sun was lost to our view, yet not a Pigeon had arrived. 
Every thing was ready, and all eyes were gazing on the clear sky, which 
appeared in glimpses amidst the tall trees. Suddenly there burst forth 




a general cry of " Here they come !" The noise which they made, 
though yet distant, reminded me of a hard gale at sea, passing through 
the rigging of a close-reefed vessel. As the birds arrived and passed 
over me, I felt a current of air that surprised me. Thousands were soon 
knocked down by the pole-men. The birds continued to pour in. The 
fires were lighted, and a magnificent, as well as wonderful and almost 
terrifying, sight presented itself. The Pigeons, arriving by thousands, 
alighted everywhere, one above another, until solid masses as large as 
hoffsheads were formed on the branches all round. Here and there the 
perches gave way under the weight with a crash, and, falling to the ground, 
destroyed hundreds of the birds beneath, forcing down the dense groups 
with which every stick was loaded. It was a scene of uproar and con- 
fusion. I found it quite useless to speak, or even to shout to those per- 
sons who were nearest to me. Even the reports of the guns were seldom 
heard, and I was made aware of the firing only by seeing the shooters 

No one dared venture within the line of devastation. The hogs had 
been penned up in due time, the picking up of the dead and wounded 
being left for the next morning's employment. The Pigeons were con- 
stantly coming, and it was past midnight before I perceived a decrease 
in the number of those that arrived. The uproar continued the whole 
night ; and as I was anxious to know to what distance the sound reach- 
ed, I sent off a man, accustomed to perambulate the forest, who, return- 
ing two hours afterwards, informed me he had heard it distinctly when 
three miles distant from the spot. Towards the approach of day, the 
noise in some measure subsided, long before objects were distinguishable, 
the Pigeons began to move off in a direction quite different from that in 
which they had arrived the evening before, and at sunrise all that were 
able to fly had disappeared. The bowlings of the wolves now reached 
our ears, and the foxes, lynxes, cougars, bears, raccoons, oppossums and 
pole-cats were seen sneaking off, whilst eagles and hawks of different 
species, accompanied by a crowd of vultures, came to supplant them, 
and enjoy their share of the spoil. 

It was then that the authors of all this devastation began their entry 
amongst the dead, the dying, and the mangled. The pigeons were 
picked up and piled in heaps, until each had as many as he could possi- 
bly dispose of, when the hogs were let loose to feed on the remainder. 

Persons unacquainted with these birds might naturally conclude that 


such dreadful havock would soon put an end to the species. But I have 
satisfied myself, by long observation, that nothing but the gradual dimi- 
nution of our forests can accomplish their decrease, as they not unfre- 
quently quadruple their numbers yearly, and always at least double it. 
In 1805 I saw schooners loaded in bulk with Pigeons caught up the 
Hudson River, coming in to the wharf at New York, when the birds sold 
for a cent a piece. I knew a man in Pennsylvania, who caught and 
killed upwards of 500 dozens in a clap-net in one day, sweeping some-, 
times twenty dozens or more at a single haul. In the month of March 
1830, they were so abundant in the markets of New York, that piles of 
them met the eye in every direction. I have seen the Negroes at the 
United States' Salines or Saltworks of Shawanee Town, wearied with 
killing Pigeons, as they alighted to drink the water issuing from the s. 
leading pipes, for weeks at a time ; and yet in 1826, in Louisiana, I saw 
congregated flocks of these birds as numerous as ever I had seen them 
before, during a residence of nearly thirty years in the United States. 
; The breeding of the Wild Pigeons, and the places chosen for that 
purpose, are points of great interest. The time is not much influenced 
by season, and the place selected is where food is most plentiful and most 
attainable, and always at a convenient distance from water. Forest-trees 
of great height are those in which the Pigeons form their nests. Thither 
the countless myriads resort, and prepare to fulfil one of the great laws 
of nature. At this period the note of the Pigeon is a soft coo-coo-coo-coo, 
much shorter than that of the domestic species. The common notes re- 
semble the monosyllables kee-Jiee-Jcee-Jcee, the first being the loudest, the 
others gradually diminishing in power. The male assumes a pompous 
demeanour, and follows the female whether on the ground or on the 
branches, with spread tail and drooping wings, which it rubs against the 
part over which it is moving. The body is elevated, the throat swells, 
the eyes sparkle. He continues his notes, and now and then rises on 
the wing, and flies a few yards to approach the fugitive and timorous fe- 
male. Like the domestic Pigeon and other species, they caress each 
other by billing, in which action, the bill of the one is introduced trans- 
versely into that of the other, and both parties alternately disgorge the 
contents of their crop by repeated efforts. These preliminary affairs are 
soon settled, and the Pigeons commence their nests in general peace and 
harmony. They are composed of a few dry twigs, crossing each other, 
and are supported by forks of the branches. On the same tree from fifty 


to a hundred nests may frequently be seen : — I might say a much greater 
number, were I not anxious, kind reader, that however wonderful my ac- 
count of the Wild Pigeon is, you may not feel disposed to refer it to the 
marvellous. The eggs are two in number, of a broadly elliptical form, 
and pure white. During incubation, the male suppUes the female with 
food. Indeed, the tenderness and affection displayed by these birds to- 
wards their mates, are in the highest degree striking. It is a remarkable 
fact, that each brood generally consists of a male and a female. 

Here again, the tyrant of the creation, man, interferes, disturbing the 
harmony of this peaceful scene. As the young birds grow up, their ene- 
mies, armed with axes, reach the spot, to seize and destroy all they can. 
The trees are feUed, and made to fall in such a way that the cutting of 
one causes the overthrow of another, or shakes the neighbouring trees so 
much, that the young Pigeons, or squabs, as they are named, are violent- 
ly hm-ried to the ground. In this manner also, immense quantities are 

The young are fed by the parents in the manner described above ; 
in other words, the old bird introduces its bill into the mouth of the 
young one in a transverse manner, or with the back of each mandible 
opposite the separations of the mandibles of the young bird, and dis- 
gorges the contents of its crop. As soon as the young birds are able to 
shift for themselves, they leave their parents, and continue separate un- 
til they attain maturity. By the end of six months they are capable of 
reproducing their species. 

The flesh of the Wild Pigeon is of a dark colour, but affords tolera- 
ble eatino-. That of young birds from the nest is much esteemed. The 
skin is covered with small white filmy scales. The feathers fall off at the 
least touch, as has been remarked to be the case in the Carohna Turtle. 
I have only to add, that this species, hke others of the same genus, im- 
merses its head up to the eyes while drinking. 

In March 1830, I bought about 350 of these birds in the market of 
New York, at four cents a piece. IVIost of these I carried alive to Eng- 
land, and distributed amongst several noblemen, presenting some at the 
same time to the Zoological Society. 


CoLUMBA MiGRATORiA, Linn. Syst, Nat. vol. 1. p. 285. — Lath. Ind. Ornith. voL ii. 

p. 612.— CA. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 120. 
Passenger Pigeon, Columba migbatoria, Lath, Synops. voL iv. p. 661 — Wils. 

Amer. Ornith. vol. v, p. 102. PI. 44. fig. 1. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate LXII. Fig. 1. 

BiU straight, of ordinary length, rather slender, broader than deep at 
the base, with a tumid fleshy covering above, compressed towards the 
end, rather obtuse ; upper mandible slightly declinate at the tip ; edges 
inflected. Head small, neck slender, body rather full. Legs short and 
strong ; tarsus rather rounded, anteriorly scutellate ; toes slightly webbed 
at the base ; claws short, depressed, obtuse. 

Plumage blended on the neck and under parts, compact on the back. 
Wings long, the second quill longest. Tail graduated, of twelve taper- 
ing feathers. 

BiU black. Iris bright red. Feet carmine purple, claws blackish. 
Head above and on the sides light blue. Throat, fore-neck, breast, and 
sides, hght brownish-red, the rest of the under parts white. liOwer part 
of the neck behind, and along the sides, changing to gold, emerald green, 
and rich crimson. The general colour of the upper parts is greyish-blue, 
some of the wing-coverts marked with a black spot. Quills and larger 
wing-coverts blackish, the primary quills bluish on the outer web, the 
larger coverts whitish at the tip. The two middle feathers of the tail 
black, the rest pale blue at the base, becoming white towards the end. 

Length 16^ inches, extent of wings 25 ; bill along the ridge f , along 
the gap 1^^ ; tarsus 1^, middle toe 1^. 

Adult Female. Plate LXII. Fig. 2. 

The colours of the female are much duller than those of the male, 
although their distribution is the same. The breast is light greyish- 
brown, the upper parts pale reddish-brown, tinged with blue. The 
changeable spot on the neck is of less extent, and the eye of a somewhat 
duller red, as are the feet. 

Length 15 inches, extent of wings 23 ; bill along the ridge |, along 
the gap f 

( 328 ) 



This interesting little bird enters the State of Louisiana often as early 
as the 1st of March. Indeed, some individuals may now and then be seen 
a week or ten days sooner, provided the weather be mild. It throws itself 
into the thickest part of the briars, sumachs, and small evergreen bushes,, 
which form detached groves in abandoned fields, where its presence is at 
once known by the smartness of its song. This song is composed of many 
different notes, emitted with great spirit, and a certain degree of pompo- 
sity, which makes it differ materially from that of all other Fly-catchers. 
It is frequently repeated during the day. 

These birds become at once so abundant, that it would be more diffi- 
cult not to meet one, than to observe a dozen or more, during a morning 
walk. Their motions are as animated as their music. They pass from 
twig to twig, upwards or downwards, examining every opening bud and 
leaf, and securing an insect or a larva at every leap. Their flight is short, 
light, and easy. Their migrations are performed during the day, and by 
passing from one low bush to another, for these birds seldom ascend to 
the tops of even moderately tall trees. Like all our other visitors, they 
move eastward as the season opens, and do not reach the Middle States 
before the end of April, or the beginning of ]\Iay. Notwithstanding this 
apparently slow progress, they reach and disperse over a vast expanse of 
country. I have met with some in every part of the United States which 
I have visited. 

]VIany remain in Louisiana, where they rear two broods, perhaps some- 
times three, in a season. Of this, however, I am not quite certain. I 
never saw them alight on the ground, unless for the purpose of drinking, 
or of. procuring fibrous roots for their nests. They are fond of sipping 
the dew drops that hang at the extremities of leaves. Their sorties after 
insects seldom extend beyond the bushes. 

About the first of April, the White-eyed Fly-catcher forms a nest of 
dry slender twigs, broken pieces of grasses, and portions of old hornets' 


nests, which have so great a resemblance to paper, that the nest appears 
as if studded with bits of that substance. It is lined with fine fibrous 
roots, and the dried filaments of tlie Spanish moss. The nest is of the 
form of an inverted cone, and is fastened to two or three twigs of a Green 
Briar, a species of Smilax abundant in the old fields and along the fences. 
The eggs are from four to six, of a pure white, with a few dark spots near 
the larger end. In those districts where the Cow-bird is found, it fre- 
quently drops one of its eggs among them. I have seen the first brood 
from the nest about the middle of May. Unless when disturbed while 
upon its nest, this bird is extremely sociable, and may be approached 
within a few feet ; but when startled from the nest, it displays the 
anxiety common to almost all birds on such occasions. The difference of 
colour in the sexes is scarcely perceptible. 

The figure of a male has been given on a branch of the tree called in 
Louisiana the Pride of China, an ornamental plant, with fragrant flowers. 
The wood is extremely valuable on account of its great durability, and is 
employed for making posts and rails for the fences. Being capable of 
receiving a beautiful polish, it is also frequently made into various articles 
of furniture. For these reasons, the planters have found it expedient to 
adopt measures for increasing the propagation of this tree. It bears a 
pulpy fruit inclosing a hard seed, which is swallowed by different birds 
during the winter months. It has been thought deleterious, but without 
reason. A decoction of the root is used by the planters as an effectual 

ViKEO KOVEBORACEKSis, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 70. 
MuscicAPA NOVEBOHACENsis, Gmel. Syst. Nat. voL i. p. 947 Lath. Ind. Ornith. 

vol. ii. p. 489. 
Hanging Fly-catcher, Lat7i. Synops. Suppl. p. 174. 
White-eyed Fly-catcher, Muscicapa cantatrix, TFi/s. A mer. Ornith. voL ii. 

p. 266. PI. 18. Fig. 6. 

Adult Male. Plate LXIII. 

Bill shortish, nearly straight, rather strong, conico-acuminate, com- 
pressed towards the end ; upper mandible slightly notched, and a Httle 
deflected at the tip ; lower mandible ascending at the tip. Nostrils basal, 
rounded. Head and neck of ordinary size ; body rather slender. Feet 


of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus anteriorly scutellate ; lateral toes 
nearly equal. 

Plumage blended, soft and tufty. Wings shortish, the third quill 
longest. Tail even, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Upper mandible blackish blue, lower light blue. Iris white. Feet 
greyish-blue. The general colour of the upper parts is light olive, the 
head greener. Sides of the head, including a line above the eye, and the 
loral space, bright yellow. Quills, large coverts, and tail, wood-brown, 
the quills edged externally with greenish-yellow, the larger coverts tipped 
with white, forming two bands. Sides of the neck tinged with bluish- 
grey ; the under parts greyish- white, excepting the sides, which are yellow. 

Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7 ; bill along the ridge j%, along 
the gap J^. 

The female scarcely differs from the male in external appearance. 

The Pride of China, or Bead-tree. 

Melia Azedarach, Linn. Sp. Plant, p. 550. — Decandria Monogynia, Linn. 
Meli^, Juss. 

Distinguished by its bipinnate shining leaves, with ferruginous dots 
beneath. In the south of Europe, the nuts are bored and strung by the 
Roman Catholics. 

(331 ) 


Fringilla falustris, Wils. 


The shores and such flat sand-bars as are overgrown with grasses and 
rank weeds, along the Mississippi, from its mouth to a great height, as 
well as the swamps that occur in the woods, within a short distance from 
the margins of that river, are the resorts of the Swamp Sparrow, during 
autumn and winter. Although these birds do not congregate in flocks, 
their numbers are immense. They form the principal food of the many 
Sparrow Hawks, Pigeon Hawks, and Hen-harriers, which follow them as 
well as several other species, on their return from the Middle Districts, 
where they go towards spring, for the purpose of breeding. In those 
districts they continue to prefer low swampy places, damp meadows, and 
the margins of creeks and rivers. 

It is a timid species, destitute of song, and merely uttering a single 
cheep, which is now and then heard during the day, but more frequently 
towards evening. They skulk along the weeds with activity, and feed 
principally upon the seeds of grasses, with a few insects, sometimes wa- 
ding in shallow water. When wounded and forced to fall in the stream, 
they swim off to the nearest tuft of grass and hide in it. Their flight is 
short, low, and assisted by strong jerking motions of the body and tail, 
accompanied by a rustling of the wings. They alight by dropping sud- 
denly amongst the weeds, seldom making towards a high tree. They are 
rarely if ever met with in dry woodlands. 

Their nest is placed on the ground, at the foot of a large bunch of 
tall grass. It is composed of dry weeds and finer fibres of the same, and 
is sometimes partially covered over. The eggs are four or five, of a dull 
white, speckled with reddish. They raise two, sometimes three, broods in 
a season. 

I found these birds abundantly dispersed in the swamps of Cayao-a 
Lakes, and those bordering the Illinois river, during summer, and far up 
the Arkansas River in the winter months. Their flesh is sedgy, which 
perhaps forms no objection to some people against its use. They be- 
come fat and tender, when the weeds have produced an abundance of 
seeds. Their note differs from that of all other species of Sparrow, being 
harsher in its tone. The young follow the parents on the ground, skulks 
ing among the grass for nearly a Aveek before they are able to fly. 


The plant on which you see this bird is called the May-apple. It shoots 
from the ground in great numbers, and grows very close. The flowers 
appear at an early season, and are succeeded by a pulpy yellowish fruit, 
about the size of a pullet's egg, and which, when ripe, is pleasant to the 
taste, being a little acid arid very cooling. 

Fringilla palustris, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Bii-ds of the United States, p. 110. 
Swamp Sparrow, Feingilla palustris, Wils. Amer. Omith. voL iii. p. 49, PI. xxii. 
fig. 1. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate LXIV. 

Bill short, conical, acute, straight ; upper mandible nearly straight in 
its dorsal line, as is the lower ; gap-line a little decUnate at the base- 
Nostrils basal, roundish, partly concealed by the feathers. Feet of mo- 
derate length ; tarsus longer than the middle toe ; toes free, the lateral 
ones nearly equal ; claws compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage rather compact above, soft and blended beneath. Wings 
short, rounded, the third and fourth quills longest. Tail longish, slightly 
notched, the feathers broad and rather acute. 

Hill dark brown above, paler and tinged with blue beneath. Iris ha- 
zel. Feet yellowish-brown. Upper part of the head reddish-brown, 
streaked with black. Loral space, and a broad streak over the eye, yel- 
lowish-grey ; a dark line behind the eye, and another from the commis- 
sure of the mandibles. Upper parts generally yellowish-brown, spotted 
with brownish-black. Primary quill-coverts dusky, as are the inner webs 
of the secondary coverts and quills, their outer webs being brownish-red_ 
Tail-feathers dusky, their outer webs brownish-red. Sides of the neck 
and the breast Ught grey, the rest of the under parts greyish-white. 

Length 5\ inches, extent of wings 7^ ; bill along the ridge -^-^, along 
the back f ; tarsus \\. 

The May-apple. 

P0DOPHYI.1.UM PELTATUM, Willd. Sp. PL voL ii. p. 1141. Pnrsh, Flor. Amer_ 
vol. iL p. 366 PoLYANDRiA MoNOGYNiA, Linn. Ranunculace^, Juss. 

Root of many large tubers. Stalks several, each divided at the top, 
and bearing two peltate leaves, composed of five or seven lobes, with a 
flower in the fork. Petals nine, white. Fruit when ripe of the size of a 
plum, yellow. 

( 333 ) 


Sylvia Uathbonia. 

PLATE LXV. Male and Female, 

Kind reader, you are now presented with a new and beautiful little 
species of Warbler, which I have honoured with the name of a family 
that must ever be dear to me. Were I at hberty here to express the 
gratitude which swells my heart, when the remembrance of all the un- 
merited kindness and unlooked-for friendship which I have received from 
the Rathbones of Liverpool comes to my mind, I might produce a 
volume of thanks. But I must content myself with informing you, that 
the small tribute of gratitude which alone it is in my power to pay, I 
now joyfully accord, by naming after them one of those birds, to the 
study of which all my efforts have been directed. 1 trust that future 
naturalists, regardful of the feelings which have guided me in naming 
this species, will continue to it the name of the Rathbone Warbler. 

I met with the species now under consideration only once, when I 
procured both the male and the female represented in the plate. They 
were actively engaged in searching for food amongst the blossoms and 
leaves of the Bignonia on which I have placed them. All my endea- 
vours to discover their nest, or to procure other individuals, having 
proved abortive, I am unable to say any thing of their habits and his- 
tory ; but should I be more fortunate at some future period, I shall not 
fail to record the result of my observations respecting this delicate little 

The Bignonia on which they are represented, grows abundantly in 
the low alluvial grounds of the States of Mississippi and Louisiana, 
sparingly in Tennessee, and about the mouth of the Oliio. It twines 
round the trunks of various trees, and produces beautiful flowers, in 
which Humming Birds are frequently seen to search for the minute in- 
sects which form their food. They are destitute of smell, but are seen 
both during spring and autumn. 


Sylvia Rathbonia. 

Adult Male. Plate LXV. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, as 
deep as broad at the base, with sharp edges. Nostrils basal, oval, half 
concealed by the feathers. Head rather large, neck short, body ovate. 
Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly 
with a few long scutella, acute behind, a little longer than the middle 
toe ; toes free, scutellate above ; claws arched, slender, compressed, 

Plumage blended, soft, and tufty. Wings of ordinary length, the 
second quill longest. Tail rather short, nearly even, of twelve obtuse 

Bill yeUowish-brown above, yellow beneath. Iris hazel. Feet flesh- 
colour. The general colour is bright yellow, the upper parts olivaceous. 
Quills and tail wood-brown, the former yellow on the outer web, the lat- 
ter margined externally with the same colour. 

Length 4^ inches ; bill along the ridge ^, along the gap ^^ ; tarsus 
^^, middle toe |. 

Adult Female. Plate LXV. Fig. 2. 

The female is almost precisely the same in external appearance. 

The Ramping Trumpet-flower. 

BiGNONiA CAPREOLATA, Willd. Sp. PI. Vol. iii. p. S97. Pursh, Flor. Anier. vol. ii. 
p. 419.— DiDTKAMiA Angiospermia, Linn. Bignoni^, Juss. 

This species is distinguished by its conjugate cirrhous leaves, with 
oblonso-lanceolate leaflets, which are somewhat cordate at the base, the 
lower leaves single. The flowers are carmine. 

( 335 ) 


The different modes of destroying Deer are probably too well un- 
derstood and too successfully practised in the United States ; for, not- 
withstanding the almost incredible abundance of these beautiful animals 
in our forests and prairies, such havock is carried on amongst them, that, 
in a few centuries, they will probably be as scarce in America, as the 
Great Bustard now is in Britain. 

We have three modes of hunting Deer, each varying in some slight 
degree, in the different States and Districts. The first is termed Still 
Hunting, and is by far the most destructive. The second is called Fire- 
light Hunting, and is next in its exterminating effects. The third, 
which may be looked upon as a mere amusement, is named Driving. 
Although many deer are destroyed by this latter method, it is not by 
any means so pernicious as the others. These methods I shall describe 

Still Hunting is followed as a kind of trade by most of our frontier 
men. To be practised with success, it requires great activity, an expert 
management of the rifle, and a thorough knowledge of the forest, toge- 
ther with an intimate acquaintance with the habits of the Deer, not only 
at different seasons of the year, but also at every hour of the day, as the 
hunter must be aware of the situations which the game prefers, and in 
which it is most likely to be found, at any particular time. I might 
here present you with a full account of the habits of our Deer, were it 
not my intention to lay before you, at some future period, in the form of 
a distinct work, the observations which I have made on the various 
Quadrupeds of our extensive territories. 

Illustrations of any kind require to be presented in the best possible 
light. We shall therefore suppose that we are now about to follow the 
true hunter, as the Still Hunter is also called, through the interior of the 
tangled woods, across morasses, ravines, and such places, where the game 
may prove more or less plentiful, even should none be found there in the 
first instance. We shall allow our hunter all the agihty, patience, and 
care, which his occupation requires, and will march in his rear, as if we 
were spies, watching all his motions. 

His dress, you observe, consists of a leather hunting-shirt, and a 


pair of trowsers of the same material. His feet are well moccassined ; he 
wears a belt round his waist ; his heavy rifle is resting on his brawny 
shoulder ; on one side hangs his ball-pouch, surmounted by the horn of 
an ancient Buffalo, once the terror of the herd, but now containing a 
pound of the best gunpowder ; his butcher knife is scabbarded in the 
same strap ; and behind is a tomahawk, the handle of which has been 
thrust through his girdle. He walks with so rapid a step, that pro- 
bably few men, besides ourselves, that is, myself and my kind reader, 
could follow him, unless for a short distance, in their anxiety to witness 
his ruthless deeds. He stops, looks at the flint of his gun, its priming, 
and the leather cover of the lock, then glances his eye towards the sky, 
to judge of the course most likely to lead him to the game. 

The heavens are clear, the red glare of the morning sun gleams 
through the lower branches of the lofty trees, the dew hangs in pearly 
drops at the top of every leaf. Already has the emerald hue of the fo- 
liage been converted into the more glowing tints of our autumnal months. 
A slight frost appears on the fence-rails of his little corn-field. As he 
proceeds, he looks to the dead fohage under his feet, in search of the 
well known traces of a buck's hoof. Now he bends toward the ground, 
on which something has attracted his attention. See ! he alters his course, 
increases his speed, and will soon reach the opposite hill. Now, he moves 
with caution, stops at almost every tree, and peeps forward, as if already 
within shooting distance of the game. He advances again, but how very 
slowly ! He has reached the declivity, upon which the sun shines in all 
its growing splendour; — but mark him ! he takes the gun from his shoulder, 
has already thrown aside the leathern cover of the lock, and is wiping 
the edge of his flint with his tongue. Now he stands like a monumental 
figure, perhaps measuring the distance that lies between him and the 
game, which he has in view. His rifle is slowly raised, the report follows, 
and he runs. Let us run also. Shall I speak to him, and ask him the 
result of this first essay ? Assuredly, reader, for I know him well. 

" Pray, friend, what have you killed ?'"' for to say, " what have you 
shot at .'*'" might imply the possibility of his having missed, and so might 
hurt his feelings ? " Nothing but a Buck." " And where is it ?" " Oh, 
it has taken a jump or sOj but I settled it, and will soon be with it. My 
ball struck, and must have gone through his heart." We arrive at the 
spot, where the animal had laid itself down among the grass in a thicket 
of grape-vines, sumachs, and spruce-bushes, where it intended to repose 


during the middle of the day. The place is covered with blood, the 
hoofs of the deer have left deep prints in the ground, as it bounced in 
the agonies produced by its wound ; but the blood that has gushed from 
its side discloses the course which it has taken. We soon reach the spot. 
There lies the buck, its tongue out, its eye dim, its breath exhausted : 
it is dead. The hunter draws his knife, cuts the buck's throat almost 
asunder, and prepares to skin it. For this purpose he hangs it upon the 
branch of a ti'ee. When the skin is removed, he cuts off the hams, 
and abandoning the rest of the carcass to the wolves and vultures, re- 
loads his gun, flings the venison, enclosed by the skin, upon his back, 
secures it with a strap, and walks off' in search of more game, well 
knowing that, in the immediate neighbourhood, another at least is to be 

Had the weather been warmer, the hunter would have sought for the 
buck along the shadowy side of the hills. Had it been the spring sea^ 
son, he would have led us through some thick cane-brake, to the margin 
of some remote lake, where you would have seen the deer, immersed to 
his head in the water, to save his body from the tormenting attacks of 
moschettoes. Had winter overspread the earth with a covering of snow, 
he would have searched the low damp woods, where the mosses and 
lichens, on Avhich at that period the deer feeds, abound, the trees being 
generally crusted with them for several feet from the ground. At one 
time, he might have marked the places where the deer clears the velvet 
from his horns by rubbing them against the low stems of bushes, and 
where he frequently scrapes the earth with his fore-hoofs ; at another, he 
would have betaken himself to places where persimons and crab-apples 
abound, as beneath these trees the deer frequently stops to munch their 
fruits. During early spring, our hunter would imitate the bleating of 
the doe, and thus frequently obtain both her and the fawn ; or, like some 
tribes of Indians, he would prepare a deer's head, placed on a stick, and 
creeping with it amongst the tall grass of the prairies, would decoy the 
deer within reach of his rifle. But kind reader, you have seen enough 
of the still hunter. Let it suffice for me to add, that by the mode pursued 
by him, thousands of deer are annually killed, many individuals shooting 
these animals merely for the skin, not caring for even the most valuable 
portions of the flesh, vmless hunger, or a neai* market, induce them to 
carry off" the hams. 

The mode of destroying deer \y^ fire-light, or, as it is named in somo 



parts of the country, forest-lig-7it, never fails to produce a very singular 
feeling in him who witnesses it for the first time. There is something in 
it which at times appears awfully grand. At other times, a certain de- 
gree of fear creeps over the mind, and even affects the physical powers, of 
him who follows the hunter through the thick undergrowth of our woods, 
having to leap his horse over hundreds of huge fallen trunks, at one time 
impeded by a straggling grape-vine crossing his path, at another squeezed 
between two stubborn saplings, whilst their twigs come smack in his 
face, as his companion has forced his way through them. Again, he 
every now and then runs the risk of breaking his neck, by being sudden- 
ly pitched headlong on the ground, as his horse sinks into a hole covered 
over with moss. But I must proceed in a more regular manner, and 
leave you, kind reader, to judge whether such a mode of hunting would 
suit your taste or not. 

The hunter has returned to his camp or his house, has rested and 
eaten of his game. He waits impatiently for the return of night. He 
has procured a quantity of pine-knots filled with resinous matter, and has 
an old frying-pan, that, for aught I know to the contrary, may have been 
used by his great grandmother, in which the pine-knots are to be placed 
when lighted. The horses stand saddled at the door. The hunter comes 
forth, his rifle slung on his shoulder, and springs upon one of them, 
while his son, or a servant, mounts the other, with the frying-pan and 
the pine-knots. Thus accoutred, they proceed towards the interior of 
the forest. When they have arrived at the spot where the hunt is to 
begin, they strike fire with a flint and steel, and kindle the resinous 
wood. The person who carries the fire moves in the direction judged to 
be the best. The blaze illuminates the near objects, but the distant 
parts seem involved in deepest obscurity. The hunter who bears the gun 
keeps immediately in front, and after a while discovers before him two 
feeble lights, which are produced by the reflection of the pine-fire from 
the eyes of an animal of the deer or wolf kind. The animal stands 
quite still. To one unacquainted with this strange mode of hunting, the 
glare from its eyes might bring to his imagination some lost hobgoblin 
that had strayed from its usual haunts. The hunter, however, nowise 
intimidated, approaches the object, sometimes so near as to discern its 
form, when raising the rifle to his shoulder, he fires and kills it on the 
spot. He then dismounts, secures the skin and such portions of the flesh 
as he may want, in the manner already described, and continues his 


search through the greater part of the night, sometimes until the da^vn 
of day, shooting from five to ten deer, should these animals be plenti- 
ful. This kind of hunting proves fatal, not to the deer alone, but also 
sometimes to wolves, and now and then to a horse or a cow, which may 
have straggled far into the woods. 

Now, kind reader, prepare to mount a generous, full blood Virginian 
Hunter. See that your gun is in complete order, for, hark to the sound of 
the bugle and horn, and the mingled clamour of a pack of harriers ! Your 
friends are waiting you, under the shade of the wood, and we must toge- 
ther go driving the light-footed deer. The distance over which one has 
to travel is seldom felt, when pleasure is anticipated as the result : so, 
galloping we go pell-mell through the woods, to some well known place, 
where many a fine buck has drooped its antlers under the ball of the 
hunter's rifle. The servants, who are called the drivers, have already 
begun their search. Their voices are heard exciting the hounds, and un- 
less we put spurs to our steeds, we may be too late at our stand, and 
thus lose the first opportunity of shooting the fleeting game, as it passes 
by. Hark again ! The dogs are in chase, the horn sounds louder and 
more clearly. Hurry, hurry on, or we shall be sadly behind ! 

Here we are at last ! Dismount, fasten your horse to this tree, 
place yourself by the side of that large yellow poplar, and mind you do 
not shoot me ! The deer is fast approaching ; I will to my own stand, 
and he who shoots him dead wins the prize. 

The deer is heard coming. It has inadvertently cracked a dead 
stick with its hoof, and the dogs are now so near it that it will pass in a 
moment. There it comes ! How beautifully it bounds over the ground ! 
What a splendid head of horns ! How easy its attitudes, depending, as, 
it seems to do, on its own swiftness for safety ! All is in vain, however : 
a gun is fired, the animal plunges and doubles with incomparable speed. 
There he goes ! He passes another stand, from which a second shot, 
better directed than the first, brings him to the ground. The dogs, the 
servants, the sportsmen are now rushing forward to the spot. The hunter 
who has shot it is congratulated on his skill or good luck, and the chase 
begins again in some other part of the woods. 

A few lines of explanation may be required to convey a clear idea of 
this mode of hunting. Deer are fond of following and retracing the 
paths which they have formerly pursued, and continue to do so even af- 
ter they have been shot at more than once. These tracks are discovered 

Y 2 


by persons on horseback in the woods, or a deer is observed crossing a 
road, a field, or a small stream. When this has been noticed twice, the 
deer may be shot from the places called stands by the sportsman, who is 
stationed there, and waits for it, a line of stands being generally formed so 
as to cross the path which the game will follow. The person who ascer- 
tains the usual pass of the game, or discovers the parts where the animal 
feeds or lies down during the day, gives intimation to his friends, who then 
prepare for the chase. The servants start the deer with the hounds, and 
by good management, generally succeed in making it run the course that 
will soonest bring it to its death. But, should the deer be cautious, and 
take another course, the hunters, mounted on swift horses, gallop through 
the woods to intercept it, guided by the sound of the horns and the cry 
of the dogs, and frequently succeed in shooting it. This sport is ex- 
tremely agreeable, and proves successful on almost every occasion. 

Hoping that this account will be sufficient to induce you, kind reader, 
to go driving in our Western and Southern Woods, I now conclude my 
chapter on Deer Hunting by informing you, that the species referred to 
above is the Virginian Deer, Cervus virglnianus ; and that, until I be 
able to present you with a full account of its habits and history, you may 
consult for information respecting it the excellent Fauna Americana of 
my esteemed friend Dr Harlan of Philadelphia. 

( 341 ) r 



PLATE LXVI. Male and Female. 

1 HAVE always imagined, that in the plumage of the beautiful Ivory- 
billed Woodpecker, there is something very closely allied to the style of 
colouring of the great Vandyke. The broad extent of its dark glossy body 
and tail, the large and well-defined white markings of its wings, neck, and 
till, relieved by the rich carmine of the pendent crest of the male, and 
the brilliant yellow of its eye, have never failed to remind me of some of 
the boldest and noblest productions of that inimitable artist's pencil. So 
strongly indeed have these thoughts become ingrafted in my mind, as I 
gradually obtained a more intimate acquaintance with the Ivory-billed 
Woodpecker, that whenever I have observed one of these birds flying 
from one tree to another, I have mentally exclaimed, " There goes a 
Vandyke !" This notion may seem strange, perhaps ludicrous, to you, 
good reader, but I relate it as a fact, and whether or not it may be found 
in accordance with your own ideas, after you have inspected the plate in 
which is represented this great chieftain of the Woodpecker tribe, is per- 
haps of little consequence. ^^ 

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker confines its rambles to a comparatively} 
very small portion of the United States, it never having been observed in \ 
the Middle States within the memory of any person now living there. In 
fact, in no portion of these districts does the nature of the woods appear 
suitable to its remarkable habits. 

Descending the Ohio, we meet with this splendid bird for the first 
time near the confluence of that beautiful river and the Mississippi ; after 
which, following the windings of the latter, either downwards toward the 
sea, or upwards in the direction of the Missouri, we frequently observe it. 
On the Atlantic coast, North Carolina may be taken as the limit of its 
distribvition, although now and then an individual of the species may be 
accidentally seen in Maryland. To the westward of the Mississippi, it is 
found in all the dense forests bordering the streams which empty their 
waters into that majestic river, from the very declivities of the Rocky 
Mountains. The lower parts of the Carolinas, Georgia, AUabama, Loui- 



siana, and Mississippi, are, however, the most favourite resorts of this 
bird, and in those States it constantly resides, breeds, and passes a life of 
peaceful enjoyment, finding a profusion of food in all the deep, dark, and 
gloomy swamps dispersed throughout them..,-_ 

I wish, kind reader, it were in my power to present to your mind's 
eye the favourite resort of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker. Would that I 
could describe the extent of those deep morasses, overshadowed by millions 
of gigantic dark cypresses, spreading their sturdy moss-covered branches, 
as if to admonish intruding man to pause and reflect on the many diffi- 
culties which he must encounter, should he persist in venturing farther 
into their almost inaccessible recesses, extending for miles before him, 
where he should be interrupted by huge projecting branches, here and 
there the massy trunk of a fallen and decaying tree, and thousands of 
creeping and twining plants of numberless species ! Would that I could 
represent to you the dangerous nature of the ground, its oozing, spongy, 
and miry disposition, although covered with a beautiful but treacherous 
carpeting, composed of the richest mosses, flags, and water-lilies, no soon- 
er receiving the pressure of the foot than it yields and endangers the very 
life of the adventurer, whilst here and there, as he approaches an open- 
ing, that proves merely a lake of black muddy water, his ear is assailed 
by the dismal croaking of innumerable frogs, the hissing of serpents, or 
the bellowing of alligators ! Would that I could give you an idea of the 
sultry pestiferous atmosphere that nearly suffocates the intruder during 
the meridian heat of our dogdays, in those gloomy and horrible swamps ! 
But the attempt to picture these scenes would be vain. Nothing short of 
ocular demonstration can impress any adequate idea of them. 

How often, kind reader, have I thought of the difference of the tasks 
imposed on different minds, when, travelhng in countries far distant from 
those where birds of this species and others as difficult to be procured are 
now and then offered for sale in the form of dried skins, I have heard the 
amateur or closet-naturahst express his astonishment that half-a-crown 
was asked by the person who had perhaps followed the bird when alive 
over miles of such swamps, and after procuring it, had prepared its skin 
in the best manner, and carried it to a market thousands of miles distant 
from the spot where he had obtained it. I must say, that it has at least 
grieved me as much as when I have heard some idle fop complain of the 
poverty of the Gallery of the Louvre, where he had paid nothing, or when 
I have listened to the same infatuated idler lamenting the loss of his shil- 


ling, as he sauntered through the Exhibition Rooms of the Royal Aca- 
demy of London, or any equally valuable repository of art. But, let us 
return to the biography of the famed Ivory-billed Woodpecker. 
The flight <rf-thi&^biTd/is graceful in the extreme, although seldom pro-"^, 
longed to more than ai^w hundred yards at a time, unless when it has to 
cross a large river, which it does in deep undulations, opening its wings at 
first to their full extent, and nearly closing them to renew the propelling 
impulse. The transit from one tree to another, even should the distance 
be as much as a hundred yards, is performed by a single sweep, and the 
bird appears as if merely swinging itself from the top of the one tree to 
that of the other, forming an elegantly curved line. At this moment all 
the beauty of the plumage is exhibited, and strikes the beholder with 
pleasure. It never utters any sound whilst on wing, unless during the 
love season ; but at all other times, no sooner has this bird ahghted than 
its remarkable voice is heard, at almost every leap which it makes, whilst 
ascending against the upper parts of the trunk of a tree, or its highest 
branches. Its notes are clear, loud, and yet rather plaintive. They are 
heard at a considerable distance, perhaps half a mile, and resemble the 
false high note of a clarionet. They are usually repeated three times in 
succession, and may be represented by the monosyllable pait, pait, pait 
These are heard so frequently as to induce me to say that the bird spends 
few minutes of the day without uttering them, and this circumstance leads 
to its destruction, which is aimed at, not because (as is supposed by some) 
this species is a destroyer of trees, but more because it is a beautiful bird, 
and its rich scalp attached to the upper mandible fojny^jgji 8f 'bur "squat- 

ters and hunters, by all of whom the bird is shot merely for that purpose. 
Travellers of aU nations are also fond of possessing the upper part of 
the head and the biU of the male, and I have frequently remarked, that 
on a steaxn-boat^s reaching what we call a wooding-place, the strangers were 
very apt to pay a quarter of a doUar for two or three heads of this 
Woodpecker. I have seen entire belts of Indian chiefs closely ornament- 
ed with the tufts and biUs of this species, and have observed that a great 
value is frequently put upon them. , 

The Ivory-biUed Woodpecker nestles earlier in spring than any other .J^_ 
species of its tribe. I have observed it boring a hole for that purpose m ^ ■ ' 
the beginning of March. The hole is, I believe, always made m the ' 
trunk of a Uve tree, generally an ash or a hagberry, and is at a great 


height. The birds pay great regard to the particular situation of the. 

1 tree, and the indination of its trunk ; first, because they prefer retire- 

\ ment, and again, because they are anxious to secure the aperture against 

I the access of water during beating rains. To prevent such a calamity, 

the hole is generally dug immediately under the junction of a large branch 

with the trunk. It is first bored horizontally for a few inches, then di- 

■ rectly downwards, and not in a spiral manner, as some people have ima^ 

■ gined. According to circumstances, this cavity is more or less deep, be- 
ing sometimes not more than ten inches, whilst at other times it reaches 

I nearly three feet downwards into the core of the tree. I have been led 
I to think that these differences result from the more or less immediate ne- 
f cessity under which the female may be of depositing her eggs, and again 
have thought that the older the Woodpecker is, the deeper does it make 
its hole. The average diameter of the different nests which I have exa- 
mined was about seven inches within, although the entrance, which is 
perfectly round, is only just large enough to admit the bird. 

Both birds work most assiduously at this excavation, one waiting out- 
side to encourage the other, whilst it is engaged in digging, and when 
the latter is fatigued, taking its place. I have approached trees whilst 
these Woodpeckers were thus busily employed in forming their nest, and 
by resting my head against the bark, could easily distinguish every blow 
given by the bird. I observed that in two instances, when the Wood- 
peckers saw me thus at the foot of the tree in which they were digging 
_ their nest, they abandoned it for ever. For the first brood there are ge- 

the hole, and are of'a"purrw1i1?e'''^o1our ^ ^^^ ""^'"^^ ""^ *^^ ^""°™ ""^ 
"U. of *e hole abou. a fort„igh. before '^'^^^^^^'^y::',:;^^ 
tree The second brood ,„akes f.sappearanco about the IS.h of Augu.t 
In Kentucky and Indiana, the Ivory-bills seldon, raise n,ore than one 

only that they wan, the crest, which, however, grows rapidly, and to- 
wards au.u,nn, particularly i„ birds of the firs, breed, is nearly equal to 
that of the mother. The males have then a slight line of r«l on the 
head, and do not attain their richness of plumage until spring, or their 
full s,ze unt,l the second year. Indeed, even then, a difeence is easily 
observed between them and individuals which arc uu,ch older. 

ihe food of this species consists principally of beetles, larvae, and 
large grubs.^ No sooner, however, are the grapes of „„r f„re;ts ripe , hi 


tliey are eaten by the Ivory-billed Woodpecker with great avidity. I 
have seen this bird hang by its claws to the vines, in the position so of- 
ten assumed by a Titmouse, and, reaching downwards, help itself to a 
bunch of grapes with much apparent pleasure. Persimons are also 
sought for by them, as soon as the fruit becomes quite mellow, as are 

The Ivory-bill is never seen attacking the corn, or the fruit of the 
orchards, although it is sometimes observed working upon and chipping 
off the bark from the belted trees of the newly-cleared plantations. It sel- 
dom comes near the ground, but prefers at aU times the tops of the tall- 
est trees. Should it, however, discover the half-standing broken shaft of 
a large dead and rotten tree, it attacks it in such a manner as nearly to 
demoUsh it in the course of a few days. I have seen the remains of some 
of these ancient monarehs of our forests so excavated, and that so singu- 
larly, that the tottering fragments of the trunk appeared to be merely 
supported by the great pile of chips by which its base was surrounded. 
The strength of this Woodpecker is such, that I have seen it detacli 
pieces of bark seven or eight inches in length at a single blow of its pow- 
erful bill, and by beginning at the top branch of a dead tree, tear off the 
bark, to an extent of twenty or thirty feet, in the course of a few hours, 
leaping downwards with its body in an upward position, tossing its head 
to the right and left, or leaning it against the bark to ascertain the pre- 
cise spot where the grubs were concealed, and immediately after renew- 
ing its blows with fresh vigour, all the while sounding its loud notes, as 

if highly delighted. ^^ .. - 

° -' ° „_ ^'^""g "^^^ ^^l^ then- 

This species o-pnoT-^u,. " ' , i ^i i * i, 

parents. The female is always the most clamorous and the least shy. 
Their mutual attachment is, I believe, continued through life. Except- 
ing when digging a hole for the reception of their eggs, these birds sel- 
dom, if ever, attack living trees, for any other purpose than that of pro- 
curing food, in doing which they destroy the insects that would other- 
wise prove injurious to the trees. 

I have frequently observed the male and female retire to rest for the 
night, into the same hole in which they had long before reared their 
young. This generally happens a short time after sunset. 

When wounded and brought to the ground, the Ivory-bill immediately 
makes for the nearest tree, and ascends it with great rapidity and perse- 


verance, until it reaches the top branches, when it squats and hides, 
generally with great effect. Whilst ascending, it moves spirally round 
the tree, utters its loud pait, pait, pait, at almost every hop, but becomes 
silent the moment it reaches a place where it conceives itself secure. 
They sometimes cUng to the bark with their claws so firmly, as to re- 
main cramped to the spot for several hours after death. When taken by 
the hand, which is rather a hazardous undertaking, they strike with 
great violence, and inflict very severe wounds with their bill as well as 
claws, which are extremely sharp and strong. On such occasions, this • 
bird utters a mournful and very piteous cry. 

Picus PRINCIPALIS, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 173 — Lath. Ind. Omith. vol. i. p. 225. 

— Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 44. 
White-billed Woodpeckeh, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 553. 
IvoRT-BiLLED WooDPECKEH, PictTs PRINCIPALIS, Wils. Amer. Oniith. vol. iv. 

PI. 29, Fig. i. 

Adult Male. Plate LXVI. Fig. 1. 

Bill long, straight, strong, polyhedral, tapering, compressed and 
truncated at the tip ; mandibles nearly equal, both nearly straight in 
their dorsal outline. Nostrils basal, oval, partly covered by recumbent 
bristly feathers. Head large. Neck long and slender. Body robust. 
Feet rather short, robust ; tarsus strong, scute! late before, scaly on the 
sides ; two toes before and two behind, the inner hind toe shortest ; 

Plumage co4^^t,lfo^ssr*^i..„ .^^ __ ^^ 

tile. Wings large, the third and fourth quills longest. M long ^Zt 
duated, of twelve tapering stifF feathers worn to a point by being rubbed 
against the bark of trees. 

Bill of an ivory-white, whence the common name of the bird Iris 
bnght yeUow. Feet greyish blue. The general colour of the plumage 
IS black, with violet reflections, more glossy above. The feathers of the 
middle and hind part of the head are of a vivid deep carmine. A broad 
band of white runs down the neck and back, on either side, commencing 
narrow under the ear, and terminating with the scapulars. The five 
outer primaries bla^k, the rest white towards the end, the secondaries 
wholly white, so that when the wings ai-e closed, the posterior pait of 


the back seems white, although it is in reality black. Lateral tail-fea- 
thers with a spot of white near the tip of each web. 

I<ength 21 inches, extent of Avings 30 ; bill along the back 2^, along 
the gap 3 ; tarsus 2. 

Adult Female. Plate LXVI. Fig. 2, 3. 

The female resembles the male in colouring, but wants the vivid 
patch on the crest, which is wholly black. 

( 348 ) 



Icterus PH<ENiCEus, J) 

PLATE LXVII. Male in different states, Female and Young. 

I F the name of Starling has been given to this well-known species, 
with the view of assimilating it to the European bird of that name, it can 
only have been on account of the numbers of individuals that associate 
together, for in every other respect it is as distinct from the true Starlings 
as a Common Crow. But without speaking particularly of generic or 
specific affinities — a task which I reserve for another occasion — I shall 
here content myself with giving you, kind reader, an account of the 
habits of this bird. 

The Marsh Blackbird is so well known as being a bird of the most 
nefarious propensities, that in the United States one can hardly mention its 
name, without hearing such an account of its pilferings as might induce the 
young student of nature to conceive that it had been created for the pur- 
pose of annoying the farmer. That it destroys an astonishing quantity 
of corn, rice, and other kinds of grain, cannot be denied ; but that before 
it commences its ravages, it has proved highly serviceable to the crojis, is 
equally certain. 

As soon as spring makes its appearance, almost all the Redwings 
leave the Southern States, in small detached and straggling flocks, the 
males leading the way in full song, as if to invite the females to follow. 
Prodigious numbers make their appearance in the Eastern Districts, as 
winter recedes, and are often seen while piles of drifted snow still remain 
along the roads, under shelter of the fences. They frequently alight on 
trees of moderate size, spread their tail, swell out their plumage, and utter 
their clear and not unmusical notes, particularly in the early morning, 
before their departure from the neighbourhood of the places in which 
they have roosted ; for their migrations, you must know, are performed 
entirely during the day. 

Their food at this season is almost exclusively composed of grubs, 
worms, caterpillars, and different sorts of coleopterous insects, which they 


procure by searching with great industry, in the meadows, the orchards, 
or the newly ploughed fields, walking with a graceful step, but much 
quicker than either of their relatives, the Purple Grakle or the Boat-tail 
of the Southern States. The millions of insects which the Red-wings 
destroy at this early season, are, in my opinion, a full equivalent for the 
com which they eat at another period ; and for this reason, the farmers 
do not molest thein in spring, when they resort to the fields in immense 
numbers. They then follow the ploughman, in company with the Crow 
Blackbird, and as if aware of the benefit which they are conferring, do 
not seem to regard him with apprehension. 

The females being all arrived, the pairing season at once commences. 
Several males are seen flying in pursuit of one, until, becoming fatigued, 
she alights, receives the addresses of her suitors, and soon makes a choice 
that establishes her the consort of one of them. The " happy couple" 
immediately retire from the view of the crowds around them, and seek 
along the margins of some sequestered pond or damp meadow, for a 
place in wliich to form their nest. An Alder bush or a thick tuft of 
rank weeds answer equally well, and in such places a quantity of coarse 
dried weeds is deposited by them, to form the exterior of the fabric which 
is to receive the eggs. The nest is lined with fine grasses, and, in some 
instances, with horse-hair. The eggs are from four to six in number, of 
a regular oval form, light blue, sparsely spotted with dusky. 

Now is the time, good-natured reader, to see and admire the courage 
and fidelity of the male, whilst assiduously watching over his beloved 
mate. He dives headlong towards every intruder that approaches his 
nest, vociferating his fears and maledictions with great vehemence, pass- 
ing at times within a few yards of the person who has disturbed his peace, 
or alighting on a twig close to his nest, and uttering a plaintive note, 
which might well prevent any other than a mischievous person from in- 
terfering with the hopes and happiness of the mated Redwings. 

The eggs are hatched, and the first brood has taken flight. The 
young soon after associate with thousands of other striplings, and shift 
for themselves, whilst the parent birds raise a second family. The first 
brood comes abroad about the beginning of June, the second in the be^ 
ginning of August. At this latter period, the corn in the Middle Dis- 
tricts has already acquired considerable consistence, and the congregated 
Redwings fall upon the fields in such astonishing numbers as to seem 
capable of completely veiHng them under the shade of their wings. The 


husbandman, anxious to preserve as much of his corn as he can, for his 
own use or for niarket, pursues every possible method of annoyance or 
destruction. But his ingenuity is ahnost exerted in vain. The Red- 
wings heed not his efforts further than to remove, after each report of his 
gun, from one portion of the field to another. All the scarecrows that 
he may choose to place about his grounds are merely regarded by the 
birds as so many observatories, on which they occasionally ahght. 

The corn becoming too hard for their bills, they now leave the fields, 
and resort to the meadows and the margins of streams thickly overgrown 
Avith the Wild Oat and other grasses, upon the seeds of which they feed 
with great avidity during the autumnal and winter months. They then 
associate partially with the Reed Birds, Grakles, and Cow-pen Buntings, 
and are seen to move from the Eastern to the Southern Districts, in such 
immense and thick flocks as almost to cloud the air. 

The havock made amongst them is scarcely credible. I have heard 
that upwards of fifty have been killed at a shot, and am the more inclined 
to believe such accounts that I have myself shot hundreds in the course 
of an afternoon, killing from ten to fifteen at every discharge. Whilst 
travelling in difl'erent parts of the Southern States, during the latter part 
of autumn, I have often seen the fences, trees and fields so strewed with 
these birds, as to make me believe their number fully equal to that of the 
falling leaves of the trees in the places traversed by me. 

Towards evening they alight in the marshes by millions, in compact 
bodies, settle on the reeds and rushes close above the water, and remain 
during the night, unless disturbed by the gunners. When this happens, 
they rise all of a sudden, and perform various evolutions in the air, now 
gliding low over the rushes, and again wheeling high above them, pre- 
serving silence for a while, but finally diving suddenly to the spot for- 
merly chosen, and commencing a general chuckling noise, after which 
they remain quiet during the rest of the night. 

Different species of Hawks derive their principal sustenance from 
them at this season. The Pigeon Hawk is an adept in picking the fattest 
■from their crowded flocks ; and while they are in the Southern States, 
where millions of them spend the winter, the Hen-harriers are seen con- 
tinually hovering over them, and picking up the stragglers. 

The Marsh Blackbird is easily kept in confinement, and sings there 
with as much vigour as when at full liberty. It is kept in good order 
with rice, wheat, or any other small grain. Attempts have been made 


to induce these birds to bi'eed in confinement, but in as far as I have 
been able to ascertain, have failed. As an article of food, they are little 
better than the Starling of Europe, or the Crow Blackbird of the United 
States, although many are eaten and thought good by the country people, 
who make pot-pies of them. 

I have represented a male and a female in the adult state, a male in 
the first spring, and a young bird, and have placed them on the branch 
of a Water Maple, these birds being fond of alighting on trees of that 
kind, in early spring, to pick up the insects that frequent the blossoms. 
This tree is found dispersed throughout the United States, and grows, as 
its name indicates, in the immediate vicinity of water. Its wood is soft, 
and is hardly used for any other purpose than that of being converted 
into common domestic utensils. 

IcTEBUS PH(ENicEus, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 52. 
Oriolus phceniceus, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 161 — Lath. Ind. Omith. vol. i. p. 178. 
Red-winged Stabling, Sturnus pr^datorius, Wils. Amer. Omith. voL iv. p. 30. 

PI. 30. Male and Female. 
Red-winged Oriole, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 428. 

Male in complete plumage. Plate LXVII. Fig. 1. 

Bill conical, rather slender, longish, compressed, nearly straight, very 
acute, with inflected acute margins ; upper mandible obtuse above, en- 
croaching on the forehead, lower broadly obtuse beneath ; gap-line de- 
flected at the base. Nostrils oval, basal. Head and neck of ordinary 
size. Body full. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus a little longer than 
the middle toe ; inner toe little shorter than the outer ; claws arched, 
acute, compressed, that of the hind toe twice the size of the rest. 

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second 
and third quills longest. Tail rather long, rounded, of twelve rounded 

Bill and feet black. Iris dark brown. The general colour of the 
plumage is glossy black ; the lesser wing-coverts scarlet, their lower row 
bright yellow. 

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 14 ; bill along the ridge j J, along 
the gap 1. 

Male, the first spring. Plate LXVII. Fig. 2. 


Bill, eyes and feet, as in the adult male. The general colour of the 
upper parts is dark-brown, the feathers edged with lighter. The shoulder 
is scarlet, but of a lighter tint ; the second row of wing-coverts broadly 
margined with brownish-white ; the larger coverts and quills margined 
with reddish-white. Quills and tail brownish-black. The under parts 
are dark greyish-brown, spotted with black. 

Adult Female. Plate LXVII. Fig. 3. 

The adult female resembles the male of the first spring in colouring. 
The biU is lighter ; there is a broad streak of pale brown from the bill 
over each eye ; the wing-coverts are less broadly margined, and the lesser 
wing-coverts are merely tinged with red. The size is greatly inferior to 
that of the adult male, the length being only 7^ inches. 

Young Bird. Plate LXVII. Fig. 4. 

The young is similar to the female, lighter on the cheeks and throat, 
and having merely a slight tinge of red on the lesser wing-coverts. 

The Red Maple or Swamp Maple. 

Acer rubrum, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. iv. p. 984. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol. i. p. 266. 

Mich. Abr. Forest, de I'Amer. Sept. vol. ii. p. 210, PI. 14 Octandria Mono- 

gynia, Linn. Acerin^, Juss, 

This species having been represented in Plate LXVII in seed, has 
already been described at p. 287. 

( 353 ) 

PLATE LXVIII. Male, Female, and Nests. 

In the spring of 1815, I for the first time saw a few individuals of this 
species at Henderson, on the banks of the Ohio, a hundred and twenty 
miles below the Falls of that river. It was an excessively cold morning, 
and nearly all were killed by the severity of the weather. I drew up a 
description at the time, naming the species H'u-undo repuhlicana, the 
Republican Swallow, in allusion to the mode in which the individuals be- 
longing to it associate, for the purpose of forming their nests and rearing 
their young. Unfortunately, through the carelessness of my assistant, 
the specimens were lost, and I despaired for years of meeting with 

In the year 1819, my hopes were revived by Mr Robert Best, 
curator of the Western Cincinnati Museum, who informed me that a 
strange species of bird had made its appearance in the neighbourhood, 
building nests in clusters, affixed to the walls. In consequence of this 
information, I immediately crossed the Ohio to New Port, in Kentucky, 
where he had seen many nests the preceding season ; and no sooner were 
we landed than the chirruping of my long-lost little strangers saluted my 
ear. Numbers of them were busily engaged in repairing the damage 
done to their nests by the storms of the preceding winter. 

Major Oldham of the United States' Army, then commandant of the 
garrison, politely offered us the means of examining the settlement of 
these birds, attached to the walls of the building under his charge. He 
informed us, that, in 1815, he first saw a few of them working against the 
wall of the house, immediately under the eaves and cornice ; that their 
work was carried on rapidly and peaceably, and that ag> soon as the 
young were able to travel, they all departed. Since that period, they 
had returned every spring, and then amounted to several hundreds. 
They usually appeared about the lOth of April, and immediately began 
their work, which was at tliat moment, it being then the 20th of that 
month, going on in a regular manner, against the walls of the arsenal. 
They had about fifty nests quite finished^ and others in progress. 



^ About day-break they flew down to the shore of the river, one hun- 
dred yards distant, for the muddy sand of which the nests were con- 
structed, and worked with great assiduity until near the middle of the 
day, as if aware that the heat of the sun was necessary to dry and har- 
den their moist tenements. They then ceased from labour for a few 
hours, amused themselves by performing aerial evolutions, courted and 
caressed their mates with much affection, and snapped at flies and other 
insects on the wing. They often examined their nests to see if they were 
sufficiently dry, and as soon as these appeared to have acquired the re- 
quisite firmness, they renewed their labours. Until the females began to 
sit, they all roosted in the hollow limbs of the Sycamores (Platanus occi- 
dentalism growing on the banks of the Licking River, but when incuba- 
tion commenced, the males alone resorted to the trees. A second party 
arrived, and were so hard pressed for time, that they betook themselves 
to the holes in the wall, where bricks had been left out for the scaffold- 
ing. These they fitted with projecting necks, similar to those of the 
complete nests of the others. Their eggs were deposited on a few bits of 
straw, and great caution was necessary in attempting to procure them, as 
the slightest touch crumbled their frail tenement into dust. By means of 
a table spoon, I was enabled to procure many of them. Each nest con- 
tained four eggs, which were white, with dusky spots. Only one brood 
is raised in a season. The energy with which they defended their nests 
was truly astonishing. Although I had taken the precaution to visit 
them at sun-set, when I supposed they would all have been on the Syca- 
mores, yet a single female happened to be sitting, and gave the alarm, 
which immediately called out the whole tribe. They snapped at my hat, 
body and legs, passed between me and the nests, within an inch of my 
face, twittering their rage and sorrow. They continued their attacks as 
I descended, and accompanied me for some distance. Their note may be 
perfectly imitated by rubbing a cork damped with spirit against the neck 
of a bottle. 

A third party arrived a few days after, and immediately commenced 
building. In one week they had completed their operations, and at the 
end of that time thirty nests hung clustered like so many gourds, each 
having a neck two inches long. On the 27th July, the young were able 
to follow their parents. They all exhibited the white frontlet, and were 
scarcely distinguishable in any part of their plumage from the old birds. 
On they 1st of August, they all assembled near their nests, mounted 


about three hundred feet in the air, and at ten in the morning took their 
departure, flying in a loose body, in a direction dvie north. They re- 
turned the same evening about dusk, and continued these excursions, no 
doubt to exercise their powers, until the third, when, uttering a farewell 
cry, they shaped the same course at the same hour, and finally disap- 
peared. Shortly after their departure, I was informed that several hun- 
dreds of their nests were attached to the Court-House at the mouth of 
the Kentucky River. They had commenced building them in 1815. A 
person Hkewise informed me, that, along the cliffs of the Kentucky, he 
had seen many hunches, as he termed them, of these nests attached to the 
naked shelving rocks overhanging that river. 

Being extremely desirous of settling the long-agitated question re- 
specting the migration or supposed torpidity of Swallows, I embraced 
every opportunity of examining their habits, carefully noted their arrival 
and disappearance, and recorded every fact connected with their history. 
After some years of constant observation and reflection, I remarked that 
among all the species of migratory birds, those that remove farthest from 
us, depart sooner than those which retire only to the confines of the 
United States ; and, by a parity of reasoning, those that remain later re- 
turn earlier in the spring. These remarks were confirmed, as I advanced 
towards the south-west on the approach of winter, for I there found num- 
bers of Warblers, Thrushes, &c. in full feather and song. It was also 
remarked that the Hirundo viridis of Wilson (called by the French of 
Lower Louisiana, Le Petit Martinet a ventre blanc) remained about the 
City of New Orleans later than any other Swallow. As immense num- 
bers of them were seen during the month of November, I kept a diary of 
the temperature from the third of that month, until the arrival of Hirundo 
purpurea. The following notes are taken from my journal, and as I had 
excellent opportunities, during a residence of many years in that country, of 
visiting the lakes to which these Swallows were said to resort, during the 
transient frosts, I present them with confidence. 

November 11. — Weather very sharp, with a heavy white frost. 
Swallows in abundance during the whole day. On inquiring of the in- 
habitants if this was a usual occurrence, I Avas answered in the affirma- 
tive by all the French and Spaniards. From this date to the 22d, the 
thermometer averaged 65°, the weather generally a drizzly fog. Swallows 
playing over the city in thousands. 

z 2 


November 25. — Thermometer this morning at 30°. Ice in New 
Orleans a quarter of an inch thick The Swallows resorted to the lee of 
the Cypress Swamp in the rear of the city. Thousands were flying in 
different flocks. Fourteen were kiUed at a single shot, all in perfect 
plumage, and very fat. The markets were abundantly supplied with 
these tender, juicy, and delicious birds. Saw Swallows every day, but 
remarked them more plentiful the stronger the breeze blew from the sea. 

December 20. — The weather continues much the same. Foggy 
and drizzly mist. Thermometer averaging 63°. 

January 14. — Thermometer 42°. Weather continues the same. My 
little favourites constantly in view. 

January 28. — Thermometer at 40°. Having seen the Hirundo viri- 
dis continually, and the H. purpurea or Purple Martin beginning to 
appear, I discontinued my observations. 

During the whole winter many of them retired to the holes about the 
houses, but the greater number resorted to the lakes, and spent the night 
among the branches of Myrica cerifera, the drier, as it is termed by 
the French settlers. 

About sunset they began to flock together, calling to each other for 
that purpose, and in a short time presented the appearance of clouds 
moving towards the lakes, or the mouth of the Mississippi, as the wea- 
ther and wind suited. Their aerial evolutions before they alight, are 
truly beautiful. They appear at first as if reconnoitring the place, 
when, suddenly throwing themselves into a vortex of apparent confusion, 
they descend spirally with astonishing quickness, and very much resemble 
a trombe or water-spout. When within a few feet of the driers, they 
disperse in all directions, and settle in a few moments. Their twittering, 
and the motions of their wings, are, however, heard during the whole 
night. As soon as the day begins to dawn, they rise, flying low over the 
lakes, almost touching the water for some time, and then rising, gra>- 
dually move off in search of food, separating in different directions. 
The hunters who resort to these places destroy great numbers of them, 
by knocking them down with light paddles, used in propelling their 


HiauNDO FULVA, Vieill. Ois. de I'Amer. Sept. vol. i. p. 62. PI. 32 — Ch, Bonaparte 

Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 64. 
Fulvous or Cliff-Swallow, Hirundo fulva, Ch. Bonaparte, Amer. Ornith- 

vol. i. p. 63. PI. 7. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate LXVIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, feeble, much depressed and very broad at the base, com- 
pressed towards the tip ; vipper mandible nearly straight ; gap as wide 
as the head, and extending to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, lateral, 
roundish. Head of ordinary size. Neck short. Body rather slender. 
Feet very short and feeble ; tarsus and toes scutellate anteriorly, lateral 
toes nearly equal, the outer united to the second joint ; claws short, weak, 
arched, rather obtuse. 

Plumage silky, shining, and blended ; wings very long and slender, 
the first quiU longest. Tail of ordinary length, the same length as the 
wings, even, of twelve straight, narrowish, rather abrupt feathers. 

Bill black. Iris hazel. Feet dusky. Upper part of the head, the 
back, and the lesser wing-coverts black, with violet reflections. A line 
of black across the anterior part of the forehead, extending over the eyes. 
Forehead marked with a semilunar band of white, shghtly tinged with 
red. Chin, throat, and sides of the head deep bro^vnish-red, the band of 
each side narrowing and meeting the other at the back of the neck. 
Posterior part of the back and upper tail-coverts light yellowish-red. 
Breast pale reddish, the rest of the vmder parts greyish-white, tinged 
with red. Wings and tail brownish-black. 

Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 12; bill along the ridge \, along 
the gap j^g ; tarsus ^, middle toe a Httle more than 5. 

Adult Female. Plate LXVIII. Fig. 2. 

The female in external appearance differs in no respect from the 

( 358 ) 


Sylvia castanea, Wils. 

PLATE LXIX. Male and Female. 

This species does not breed in the United States, or if it does, must 
spend the summer in some of the most remote north-western districts, so 
that I have not been able to discover its principal abode. It merely 
passes through the better known portions of the Union, where it remains 
,for a very short time. There is soxnething so very uncommon in its ap- 
pearance in different States, that I cannot refrain from briefly mentioning 
it. It is sometimes found in Pennsylvania, or the State of New York, as 
well as in New Jersey, as early as the beginning of April, but is only 
seen there for a few days. I have shot some individuals at such times, 
when I observed them employed in searching for insects and larvae along 
the fences bordering our fields. At other times I have shot them late 
in June, in the State of Louisiana, when the cotton-plant was covered 
with blossoms, amongst which they were busily searching for food. The 
Bay-breasted Warbler, however, has so far eluded my inquiries, that I 
am unable to give any further account of its habits. 

Stlvia castanea, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 80. 
Bay-breasted Wakbleh, Sylvia castanea, Wils. Amer. Ornitli. voL ii. p. 97. 
PI. U, fig. 4. 

Adult Male. Plate LXIX. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, as 
deep as broad at the base, with sharp edges. Nostrils basal, oval, half 
concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body 
ovate. Feet of ordinary length, slender ; tarsus compressed, covered an- 
teriorly with a few long scutella, acute behind, a little longer than the 
middle toe ; toes free, scutellate above ; claws arched, slender, compres- 
sed, acute. 

Plumage loose, tufty. Wings rather long, the second quill longest. 
Tail of ordinary length, slightly emarginate, of twelve rounded feathers. 


Bill blackish above, greyish-blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet greyish- 
blue, upper part of the head, the fore-neck, anterior part of the breast, 
and the sides, bright chestnut. Forehead and cheeks, including a small 
space over the eye, deep black, behind which is a transverse broad band 
of yellowish-white on the sides of the neck. Back and lesser wing- 
coverts yellowish-grey, spotted with blackish-brown. Larger coverts, 
quills and tail, blackish-brown, edged with light bhiish-grey. Middle 
of the breast, abdomen, and under tail-coverts, white, tinged with reddish. 
Length 5^ inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge nearly -/jj 
along the gap /^ > tarsus ^, middle toe |. 

Adult Female. Plate LXIX. Fig. 2. 

The female is somewhat less. The colours are similar to those of the 
male, and have the same distribution, but are much fainter, especially 
the chestnut of the head and under parts, which are converted into light 

The Highland Cotton-plant. 

GossiPiuM HERBACEU31, Linii. Sjst. Nat. vol. ii. p. 4C2 Monadelphia Polyan- 

ORiA, Linn. MalvacEjE, Juss. 

This species, commonly known in America, where it is cultivated, 
under the name of Highland Cotton, is distinguished by its five-lobed 
leaves and herbaceous stem. 

( 360 ) 


Embehiza HenslowiIj 


I OBTAINED the bird represented in this plate opposite Cincinnati, in 
the State of Kentucky, in the year 1820, whilst in the company of Mr 
Robert Best, then Curator of the Western Museum. It was on the 
ground, amongst tall grass, and exhibited the usual habits of its tribe. 
Perceiving it to be different from any which I had seen, I immediately 
shot it, and the same day made an accurate drawing of it. 

In naming it after the Rev. Professor Henslow of Cambridge, a 
gentleman so well known to the scientific world, and who has permitted 
me so to designate it, my object has been to manifest my gratitude for the 
many kind attentions which he has shewn towards me. Its history and 
habits are unknown. In appearance it differs so httle from the Buntings, 
that, for the present, I shall refer it to that genus. 

Emberiza Henslowii. 

Plate LXX. 

Bill short, robust, conical, acute; upper mandible straight in the 
dorsal outhne, angular, and encroaching a little on the forehead, broader 
than the lower, acute and inflected on the edges ; lower mandible also in- 
flected at the edges ; the gap-line deflected at the base. Head rather 
large, neck short, body full. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus scutellate 
before, acute behind ; toes free, scutellate above ; claws slightly arched, 
compressed, acute, that of the liind toe elongated. 

Plumage compact, slightly glossed. Wings short, curved, the third 
and fourth quills longest, the secondaries nearly as long as the primaries, 
when the wing is closed. Tail short, graduated and deeply notched, of 
tAvelve rather narrow very acute feathers. 

Bill flesh-colour, darker above. Iris dark-brown. Feet flesh-colour. 
The general colour of the upper parts is pale brown, the central part of 
the feathers brownish-black, the margins of those of the back bright red. 
Secondary coverts yellowish-red on the outer webs. Quills dark brown, 


externally margined with light yellowish-brown. Tail-feathers dusky, 
margined externally with yellowish-brown. The under parts pale yel- 
lowish-grey, the breast, sides, and throat, spotted with brownish-black. 

Length 5 inches, bill along the ridge |, along the gap nearly | ; 
tarsus §, middle toe f , hind toe the same. 

The Indian Pink-root or Worm-grass. 

Spigelia marilandica, Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 139. Fig. 1. of the Plate — 
Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. Apocine^, Juss, 

Stem tetragonal, all the leaves opposite, ovate, acuminate. Flowers 
rich carmine, in a terminal spike. This plant is perennial, flowers in the 
summer months, and grows in rich soil by the margins of woods, in the 
Middle States. The roots are used as a vermifuge. 

Phlox aristata, Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 130. Fig. 2, of the Plate. — Pentak- 
DRiA Monogynia, Linn. Polemonia, Jtiss. 

This species is characterized by its erect, feeble stem, its linear-lan- 
ceolate leaves, lax fastigiate panicle, twin pedicels, oboval segments of the 
corolla, pubescent curved tube, and long subulate calycine teeth. The 
corolla is rose-colom-ed, but varies in tint, being sometimes nearly white, 
and sometimes deep red. It is perennial, flowers in the summer months, 
and occurs in the Middle and Atlantic States. 

( 362 ) 


' After wandering on some of our great lakes for many months, I 
bent my course towards the celebrated Falls of Niagara, being desirous 
of taking a sketch of them. This was not my first visit to them, and I 
hoped it should not be the last. 

Artists (I know not if I can be called one) too often imagine that 
what they produce must be excellent, and with that foolish idea go on 
spoiUng much paper and canvas, when their time might have been better 
employed in a different manner. But digressions aside, — I directed my 
steps towards the Falls of Niagara, with the view of representing them 
on paper, for the amusement of my family. 

Returning as I then was from a tedious journey, and possessing little 
more than some drawings of rare birds and plants, I reached the tavern 
at Niagara Falls in such plight, as might have deterred many an indivi- 
dual from obtruding himself upon a circle of well-clad and perhaps well- 
bred society. Months had passed since the last of my linen had been 
taken from my body, and used to clean that useful companion, my gun. 
I was in fact covered just like one of the poorer class of Indians, and 
yras rendered even more disagreeable to the eye of civilized man, by not 
having, like them, plucked my beard, or trimmed my hair in any way. 
Had HoGAiiTH been living, and there when I arrived, he could not have 
found a fitter subject for a Robinson Crusoe. My beard covered my 
neck in front, my hair fell much lower at my back, the leather dress 
which I wore had for months stood in need of repair, a large knife hung 
at my side, a rusty tin-box containing my drawings and colours, and, 
wrapped up in a worn-out blanket that had served me for a bed, was 
buckled to my shoulders. To every one I must have seemed immersed 
in the depths of poverty, perhaps of despair. Nevertheless, as I cared 
little about my appearance during those happy rambles, I pushed into 
the sitting-room, unstrapped my little burden, and asked how soon break- 
fast would be ready. 

In America, no person is ever refused entrance to the inns, at least 
far from cities. We know too well how many poor creatures are forced 
to make their way from other countries in search of employment or to 
seek uncultivated land, and we are ever ready to let them have what 
they may call for. No one knew who I was, and the landlord looking at 


me with an eye of close scrutiny, answered that breakfast would be on 
the table as soon as the company should come down from their rooms. 
I approached this important personage, told him of my avocations, and 
convinced him that he might feel safe as to remuneration. From this 
moment, I was, with him at least, on equal footing with every other per- 
son in his house. He talked a good deal of the many artists who had 
visited the Falls that season, from different parts, and offered to assist me, 
by giving such accommodations as I might require to finish the draw- 
ings I had in contemplation. He left me, and as I looked about the 
room, I saw several views of the Falls, by which I was so disgusted, that 
I suddenly came to my better senses. " What !" thought I, " have I 
come here to mimic nature in her grandest enterprise, and add my cari- 
cature of one of the wonders of the world to those which I here see .? No. 
—I give up the vain attempt. I shall look on these mighty cataracts 
and imprint them, where alone they can be represented, — on my mind !" 

Had T taken a view, I might as well have given you what might be 
termed a regular account of the form, the height, the tremendous roar of 
these Falls ; might have spoken of people perilling their lives by going 
between the rock and the sheet of water, calculated the density of the at- 
mosphere in that strange position, related wondrous tales of Indians and 
their canoes having been precipitated the whole depth ; — might have told 
of the narrow, rapid, and rockbound river that leads the waters of the 
Erie into those of Ontario, remarking en passant the Devil's Hole and 
sundry other places or objects ; — but supposing you had been there, my 
description would prove useless, and quite as puny as my intended view 
would have been for my family ; and should you not have seen them, 
and are fond of contemplating the more magnificent of the Creator's 
works, go to Niagara, reader, for all the pictures you may see, all the de- 
scriptions you may read, of these mighty Falls, can only produce in your 
mind the faint ghmmer of a glow-worm compared with the overpowering 
glory of the meridian sun. 

I breakfasted amid a crowd of strangers, who gazed and laughed at 
me, paid my bill, rambled about and admired the Falls for a while, saw 
several young gentlemen sTietching on cards the mighty mass of foaming 
waters, and walked to Buffalo, where I purchased new apparel and shear^ 
ed my beard. I then enjoyed civilized life as much as, a month before, I 
had enjoyed the wildest solitudes and the darkest recesses of mountain 
and forest. 

( 364 ) 


Falco hyemalis, Gmkl. 

Every species of bird is possessed of a certain, not always definable, 
cast of countenance, peculiar to itself. Although it undergoes changes 
necessary for marking the passions of the individual, its joy, its anger, 
its terror or despondency, still it remains the same specific look. Hawks 
are perhaps more characteristically marked in this manner than birds of 
any other genus, being by nature intended for deeds of daring enterprise, 
and requiring a greater perfection of sight to enable them to distinguish 
their prey at great distances. To most persons the family-look of parti- 
cular species does not appear so striking as to the student of Nature, who 
examines her productions in the haunts which she has allotted to them. 
He perceives at a glance the differences of species, and when he has once 
bent his attention to an object, can distinguish it at distances which to 
the ordinary observer present merely a moving object, whether beast or 
bird. When years of constant observation have elapsed, it becomes a 
pleasure to him to establish the differences that he has found to exist 
among the various species of a tribe, and to display to others whose op- 
portunities have been more limited the fruits of his research. 

T hope, kind reader, you Avill not lay presumption to my charge, when 
I tell you that I think myself somewhat qualified to decide in a matter 
of this kind, or say that I go too far, when I assert that the Hawk which 
sails before me, at a distance so great that a careless observer might be 
apt to fancy it something else, I can distinguish and name with as much 
ease as I should recognise an old friend by his walk or his tournure. 
Independently of the cast of countenance so conspicuously distinctive of 
different species of birds, there are characters of separation in their pecu- 
liar notes or cries ; and if you add to these the distinctions that exist in 
their habits, it will be easy for you, when you have looked at the Plate 
of the Winter Falcon and that of the Red-shouldered Hawk, and have 
been told that their notes and manners differ greatly, to perceive that 
these birds, although confounded by some, are truly distinct. 

The Winter Hawk is not a constant resident in the United States, 

WINTER HAWK. ^ 1^ 365 

but merely visits them, making its first appearance there at the approach 
of winter. It extends over the whole Union, from the eastern to the 
southernmost parts, but gives a decided preference to the Middle Districts, 
where the greater number spend the winter. They come from the north- 
ern portions of the continent, where they breed, and from whence they 
seem to be forced by the severity of the weather, to seek subsistence for 
a time in milder climates. They return at the approach of spring, and 
none, in as far as I have been able to discover, remain to breed in the 
United States. 

The flight of the Winter Hawk is smooth and light, although greatly 
protracted, when necessity requires it to be so. It sails at times at a con- 
siderable elevation, and, notwithstanding the comparative shortness of its 
wings, performs this kind of motion with grace, and in circles of more 
than moderate diameter. It is a remarkably silent bird, often spending 
the greater part of a day without uttering its notes more than once or 
twice, which it does just before it alights to watch with great patience and 
perseverance for the appearance of its prey. Its haunts are the extensive 
meadows and marshes which occur along our rivers. There it pounces 
with a rapid motion on the frogs, which it either devours on the spot, or 
carries to the perch, or the top of the hay-stack, on which it previously 
stood. If it seizes a small frog, it swallows it whole and at once ; but if 
a large one, it first tears it to pieces. The appetite of the Winter Hawk 
may be said to be ravenous. It seldom gives up eating, when food is 
plentiful, until it has gorged itself so as to seem on the point of being 
suffocated. At such times, it flies heavily, but removes farther at once 
from a person who pursues it, than when its stomach is empty, as if at one 
effort to ensure its safety, and afterwards enjoy the digestion of its food 
in quiet. 

When frogs are scarce during frosty weather, the Winter Hawk pur- 
sues the meadow mouse, but only in such cases, frogs being the favourite 
food of tliis species. I have seen it when disappointed in seizing a large 
bull-frog, which had saved itself by leaping into the water, stand on the 
spot previously occupied by the reptile, and wait until it reappeared and 
approached the shore, when the Hawk would strike at it with his talons, 
although seldom successfully, as the frog would sink backward, and thus 

Mr Alexander Wilson has given a figure so unlike any bird of this 
species, for one of the Winter Falcons, that although he has at the same 


time briefly described the habits of the latter with accuracy, I cannot 
think that the' bird figured by him was of that species. My excellent 
friend Charles Lucian Bonaparte, has probably been led by Mr Wil- 
son's error to consider the Winter Hawk and the Red-shouldered Hawk 
as identical. I have killed many individuals of both species, and know- 
ing as I do that the Red-shouldered Hawk is a constant resident in the 
Southern States, where I have often destroyed its nest and young, and 
where very few Winter Hawks are ever seen, even during winter, I can- 
not hesitate a moment to pronounce them different and distinct species. 

The Winter Hawk generally rests at night on the ground, amongst 
the tall sedges of the marshes. From such places I have on several occa- 
sions started it, whilst in search of Ducks, and have shot it as it flew low 
over the ground, attempting to escape unobserved. I have never seen 
this Hawk in pursuit of any other birds than those of its own species, 
each individual chasing the others from the district which it has selected 
for itself. 

The cry of the Winter Hawk is clear and prolonged, and resembles 
the syllables kay-o. After uttering these notes, it generally alights. 
Towards spring they associate in small parties of four or five, to perform 
their migrations. In this respect the species resembles most of the Marsh 
Hawks or Hen-harriers. 

Falco htebialis, Gmel. Syst. Nat. voL i. p. 274 — Lath. Ind. Omith. vol. i. p. 34— 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 33. 
Winter Falcon, Falco hyemalis, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 73. PL 35. 

Adult Male. Plate LXXT. 

Bill shortj as broad as deep at the base, the sides convex, the dorsal 
outline convex from the base ; upper mandible cerate, the edges blunt, 
slightly inflected, with an obtuse lobe towards the curvature, the tip tri- 
gonal, deflected, very acute; lower mandible involute at the edges, a 
little truncate at the end. Nostrils round, lateral, with a soft papilla in 
the centre. Head rather large, neck and body rather slender. Tarsus 
rather slender, anteriorly scutellate ; toes scutellate above, scaly on the 
sides, scabrous and tuberciilate beneath ; middle and outer toe connected at 
the base by a small membrane ; claws roundish, curved, slender, very acute. 

Plumage compact, imbricated ; feathers of the head and neck narrow 
towards the tips, of the back broad and roimded ; tibial feathers elongat- 


ed behind. Wings long, third and fourth primaries longest, the first 

Bill light blue, darker at the tip ; cere, basal margin of the bill, 
edges of the eyelids, and the feet, yellow, tinged with green. Iris yellow. 
Claws black. Head, neck and back, pale brownish-red, longitudinally 
spotted with dark-brown, the sides and fore-part of the head greyish- 
white. Upper tail-coverts bluish-grey at the margins. Tail dull brown, 
banded with brownish- white, and tipped with white. Lesser wing-coverts 
brownish-red, spotted with dark brown ; larger coverts and secondary 
quills umber, banded with brownish- white ; primary quills light yellowish- 
red at the base, dull brown towards the end, barred with dark brown. 
Lower part of the neck, the sides and under wing-coverts, light brownish- 
red, the former longitudinally lined with brown. Breast greyish-white, 
sparsely marked with guttiform spots, abdomen white. Tibial feathers 
yellowish-white, marked with small roundish spots. 

Length 22 inches ; bill along the back 1 ^ ; tarsus 3. 
Compared with the adult male of the Red-shouldered Hawk, the 
present bird is much larger, and differs greatly in colouring ; but the 
differences will be best understood by referring to the figures. 

The Bull-prog, Rana taurina, Cuv. 

The body olive-green, clouded with black ; a yellow line along the 
back. Length ten or twelve inches. This Frog is found in all parts 
of the United States, but is more abundant in the Southern Dis- 
tricts. Its voice is louder than that of any other species, and may be 
distinctly heard at the distance of forty or fifty yards. It is particularly 
fond of such small pure streams of water as are thickly shaded by over- 
hanging bushes. It sits for hours during the middle of the day, basking 
in the sun, near the margin of the water, to which it betakes itself by a 
great leap at the least appearance of danger, diving at once to the bottom, 
or swimming to the opposite side. In the Southern States, it is heard at 
all seasons, but principally during the spring and summer months. Its 
flesh is tender, white, and affords excellent eating. The hind legs, how- 
ever, are the only parts used as food. They make excellent bait for the 
larger cat-fish. Some bull-frogs weigh as much as half a pound. I have 
generally used the gun for procuring them, shooting with very small shot. 

( 368 ) 


Falco furcatus, Linn. 


The flight of this elegant species of Hawk is singularly beautiful 
and protracted. It moves through the air with such ease and grace, that 
it is impossible for any individual, who takes the least pleasure in observ- 
ing the manners of birds, not to be delighted by the sight of it whilst on 
wing. Gliding along in easy flappings, it rises in wide circles to an im- 
mense height, inclining in various ways its deeply forked tail, to assist the 
direction of its course, dives with the rapidity of lightning, and, sudden- 
ly checking itself, reascends, soars away, and is soon out of sight. At 
other times a flock of these birds, amounting to fifteen or twenty indivi- 
duals, is seen hovering around the trees. They dive in rapid succession 
amongst the branches, glancing along the trunks, and seizing in their 
course the insects and small lizards of which they are in quest. Their 
motions are astonishingly rapid, and the deep curves which they describe, 
their sudden doublings and crossings, and the extreme ease with which 
they seem to cleave the air, excite the admiration of him who views them 
while thus employed in searching for food. 

A solitary individual of this species has once or twice been seen in 
Pennsylvania. Farther to the eastward, the Swallow-tailed Hawk has 
never, I beUeve, been observed. Travelling southward, along the At- 
lantic coast, we find it in Virginia, although in very small numbers. Be- 
yond that State it becomes more abundant. Near the Falls of the Ohio, 
a pair had a nest and reared four young ones, in 1820. In the lower 
parts of Kentucky it begins to become numerous ; but in the States far- 
ther to the south, and particularly in parts near the sea, it is abundant. 
In the large prairies of the Attacapas and Oppellousas, it is extremely 

In the States of Louisiana and Mississippi, where these birds are abun- 
dant, they arrive in large companies, in the beginning of April, and are 
heard uttering a sharp plaintive note. At this period I generally re- 
marked that they came from the westward, and have counted upwards 
of a hundred in the space of an hour, passing over me in a direct easter- 


ly course. At that season, and in the beginning of September, when 
they all retire from the United States, they are easily approached when 
they have alighted, being then apparently fatigued, and busily engaged 
in preparing themselves for continuing their journey, by dressing and 
oiling their feathers. At all other times, however, it is extremely chffi- 
cult to get near them, as they are generally on wing through the day, 
and at night rest on the highest pines and cypresses, bordering the river- 
bluffs, the lakes or the swamps of that district of country. 

They always feed on the wing. In calm and warm weather, they 
soar to an immense height, pursuing the large insects called MuSQuito 
Haz&ls, and performing the most singular evolutions that can be con- 
ceived, using their tail with an elegance of motion peculiar to themselves. 
Their principal food, however, is large grasshoppers, grass-caterpillars, 
small snakes, lizards, and frogs. They sweep close over the fields, some- 
times seeming to alight for a moment to secure a snake, and holding it 
fast by the neck, carry it off, and devour it in the air. When searching 
for grasshoppers and caterpillars, it is not difficult to approach them un- 
der cover of a fence or tree. When one is then killed and falls to the 
ground, the whole flock comes over the dead bird, as if intent upon carry- 
ing it off. An excellent opportunity is thus afforded of shooting as many 
as may be wanted, and I have kiUed several of these Hawks in this man- 
ner, firing as fast as I could load my gun. 

The Forked-tailed Hawks are also very fond of frequenting the creeks, 
which, in that country, are much encumbered with drifted logs and ac- 
cumulations of sand, in order to pick up some of the numerous water- 
snakes which lie basking in the sun. At other times, they dash along 
the trunks of trees, and snap off the pupae of the locust, or that insect it- 
self. Although when on wing they move with a grace and ease which 
it is impossible to describe, yet on the ground they are scarcely able to 

I kept for several days one which had been slightly wounded in the 
wing. It refused to eat, kept the feathers of the head and rump con- 
stantly erect, and vomited several times part of the contents of its sto- 
mach. It never threw itself on its back, nor attempted to strike with its 
talons, unless when taken vip by the tip of the wing. It died from inani- 
tion, as it constantly refused the food placed before it in profusion, and 
instantly vomited what had been thrust down its throat. 

The Swallow-tailed Hawk pairs immediately after its arrival in the 

A a 


Southern States, and as its courtships take place on the wing, its mo- 
tions are then more beautiful than ever. The nest is usually placed on 
the top branches of the tallest oak or pine tree, situated on the mar- 
gin of a stream or pond. It resembles that of the Common Crow ex- 
ternally, being formed of dry sticks, intermixed with Spanish moss, and 
is lined with coarse grasses and a few feathers. The eggs are fi'om four 
to six, of a greenish-white colour, with a few irregular blotches of dark 
brown at the larger end. The male and the female sit alternately, the 
one feeding the other. The young are at first covered with buff-colour- 
ed down. Their next covering exhibits the pure white and black of the 
old birds, but without any of the glossy purphsh tints of the latter. The 
tail, which at first is but slightly forked, becomes more so in a few weeks, 
and at the approach of autumn exhibits little difference from that of 
the adult birds. The plumage is completed the first spring. Only one 
brood is raised in the season. The species leaves the United States in 
the beginning of September, moving off in flocks, which are foi*med im- 
mediately after the breeding-season is over. 

Hardly any difference as to external appearance exists between the 
sexes. They never attack birds or quadrupeds of any species, with the 
view of preying upon them. I never saw one alight on the groimd. 
They secure their prey as they pass closely over it, and in so doing some- 
times seem to alight, particularly when securing a snake. The common 
name of the Snake represented in the plate is the Garter Snake. 

Falco FURCATU3, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. \29.—Lath. Ind. Omith. voL i p. 22. 

— Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 31. 
Swallow-tailed Falcok, Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 60. 
Swallow-tailed Hawk, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. vi. p. 70. PI. 51. Fig. 2. 

Adult Male. Plate LXXIL 

Bill short, strong, curved, compressed towards the tip, opening to be- 
neath the eye ; upper mandible cerate, its dorsal outline curved from the 
base, the edges acute and overlapping, the tip trigonal, very acute ; lower 
m.andible rounded on the back, the edges acute, the tip rounded and' de- 
clinate. Head large, neck short, body robust. Feet rather short ; tarsus 
very short, scaly all round ; toes scaly, scutellate above, excepting at the 
base ; claws curved, very acute. 

Plumage rather compact, blended, glossy. Wings very long and 


acute, the third quill longest, the first eqvial to the fifth, the primaries 
widely graduated; the secondaries comparatively very short. Tail very 
deeply forked, of twelve feathers, the lateral ones extremely elongated. 

Bill bluish-black above. Light blue on the cere, and the edges of 
both mandibles. Edges of the eyeUds hght blue ; iris black. Feet light 
blue, tinged with green ; claws flesh-coloured. The head, the neck all 
round, and the under parts, are white, tinged with bluish-grey ; the shafts 
of the head, neck, and breast blackish. The rest of the plumage is 
black, with blue and purple reflections. 

Length 25 inches, extent of wings 51 1 ; beak along the back 1^. 

The female is similar to the male. 

The Garter Snake. 

This is one of our most abundant species, and is found everywhere 
in the meadows, the fields, the gardens, and the forests. It moves witli 
ease, and now and then ascends low bushes. It is quite harmless. 

A a 2 

( 372 ) 


Kind reader, you now see before you my greatest favourite of the 
feathered tribes of our woods. To it I owe much. How often has it re- 
yived my drooping spirits, when I have listened to its wild notes in the 
forest, after passing a restless night in my slender shed, so feebly secured 
against the violence of the storm, as to shew me the futility of my best 
efforts to rekindle my little fire, whose uncertain and vacillating light had 
gradually died away under the destructive weight of the dense torrents of 
rain that seemed to involve the heavens and the earth in one mass of fear- 
ful murkiness, save when the red streaks of the flashing thunderbolt burst 
on the dazzled eye, and, glancing along the huge trunk of the stateliest 
and noblest tree in my immediate neighbourhood, were instantly followed 
by an uproar of crackling, crashing, and deafening sounds, rolling their 
volumes in tumultuous eddies far and near, as if to silence the very 
breathings of the unformed thought ! How often, after such a night, 
when far from my dear home, and deprived of the presence of those 
nearest to my heart, wearied, hungry, drenched, and so lonely and deso- 
late as almost to question myself why I was thus situated, when I have 
seen the fruits of my labours on the eve of being destroyed, as the water, 
collected into a stream, rushed through my little camp, and forced me to 
stand erect, shivering in a cold fit like that of a severe ague, when I have 
been obliged to wait Avith the patience of a martyr for the return of day, 
trying in vain to destroy the tormenting moschettoes, silently counting 
over the years of my youth, doubting perhaps if ever again I should re- 
turn to my home, and embrace my family ! — how often, as the first 
glimpses of morning gleamed doubtfully amongst the dusky masses of 
the forest-trees, has there come upon my ear, thrilling along the sensitive 
cords which connect that organ with the heart, the delightful music of 
this harbinger of day ! — and how fervently, on such occasions, have I 
blessed the Being who formed the Wood Thrush, and placed it in those 
solitary forests, as if to console me amidst my privations, to cheer my de- 
pressed mind, and to make me feel, as I did, that never ought man to de- 


spair, whatever may be his situation, as he can never be certain that aid 
and deUverance are not at hand. 

The Wood Thrush seldom commits a mistake after such a storm as 
I have attempted to describe ; for no sooner are its sweet notes heard 
than the heavens gradually clear, the bright refracted light rises in glad- 
dening rays from beneath the distant horizon, the effulgent beams in- 
crease in their intensity, and the great orb of day at length bursts on the 
sight. The grey vapour that floats along the ground is quickly dissi- 
pated, tlie world smiles at the happy change, and the woods are soon 
heard to echo the joyous thanks of their many songsters. At that mo- 
ment, all fears vanish, giving place to an inspiriting hope. The hunter 
prepares to leave his camp. He listens to the Wood Thrush, while he 
thinks of the course which he ought to pursue, and as the bird approaches 
to peep at him, and learn somewhat of his intentions, he raises his mind 
towards the Supreme Disposer of events. Seldom, indeed, have I heard 
the song of this Thrush, without feeling all that tranquillity of mind, to 
which the secluded situation in which it delights is so favourable. The 
thickest and darkest woods always appear to please it best. The bor- 
ders of murmuring streamlets, overshadowed by the dense foliage of the 
lofty trees growing on the gentle decHvities, amidst which the sunbeams 
seldom penetrate, are its favourite resorts. There it is, kind reader, that 
the musical powers of this hermit of the woods must be heard, to be fully 
appreciated and enjoyed. 

The song of the Wood Thrush, although composed of but few notes, is 
so powerful, distinct, clear, and mellow, that it is impossible for any per- 
son to hear it without being struck by the effect which it produces on the 
mind. I do not know to what instrumental sounds I can compare these 
notes, for I really know none so melodious and harmonica! They gra- 
dually rise in strength, and then fall in gentle cadences, becoming at 
length so low as to be scarcely audible ; like the emotions of the lover, 
who at one moment exults in the hope of possessing the object of his af- 
fections, and the next pauses in suspense, doubtful of the result of all his 
efforts to please. 

Several of these birds seem to challenge each other from different por- 
tions of the forest, particularly towards evening, and at that time nearly 
all the other songsters being about to retire to rest, the notes of the 
Wood Thrush are doubly pleasing. One would think that each indivi- 
dual is anxious to excel his distant rival, and I have frequently thought 


that on such occasions their music is more than ordinarily effective, as it 
then exhibits a degree of skilful modulation quite beyond my power to 
describe. These concerts are continued for some time after sunset, and 
take place in the month of June, when the females are sitting. 

This species glides swiftly through the woods, whilst on wing, and 
performs its migrations without appearing in the open country. It is a 
constant resident in the State of Louisiana, to which the dispersed indi- 
viduals resort, as to winter quarters, from the different parts of the 
United States, to which they had gone to breed. They reach Pennsyl- 
vania about the beginning or middle of April, and gradually proceed 
farther north. 

Their food consists of different kinds of berries and small fruits, which 
they procure in the woods, without ever interfering with the farmer. 
They also occasionally feed on insects and various lichens. 

The nest is usually placed in a low horizontal branch of the Dog- 
wood Tree, occasionally on smaller shrubs. It is large, well saddled on 
the branch, and composed externally of dry leaves of various kinds, 
with a second bed of grasses and mud, and an internal layer of fine 
fibrous roots. The eggs are four or five, of a beautiful uniform light 
blue. The nest is generally found in deep swampy hollows, on the sides 
of hills. 

On alighting on a branch, this Thrush gives its tail a few jets, utter- 
ing at each motion a low chuckhng note peculiar to itself, and very dif- 
ferent from those of the Hermit or Tawny Thrush. It then stands still 
for a while, with the feathers of the hind part a little raised. It walks 
and hops along the branches with much ease, and often bends down its 
head to peep at the objects around. It frequently alights on the ground, 
and scratches up the dried leaves in search of worms and beetles, but 
suddenly flies back to the trees, on the least alarm. 

The sight of a fox or raccoon causes them much anxiety, and they ge- 
nerally follow these animals at a respectful distance, uttering a mournful 
chick, well known to hunters. Although, during winter, these birds are 
numerous in Louisiana, they never form themselves into flocks, but go 
singly at this period, and only in pairs in the breeding season. They are 
easily reared from the nest, and sing nearly as well in confinement as 
while fi'ee. Their song is occasionally heard during the whole >vinter, 
particularly when the sun reappears after a shower. Their flesh is ex- 
tremely delicate and juicy, and many of them are killed with the blow-gun. 


Having given you a description of the Dogwood before, when I pre- 
sented that tree in bloom, I have only to say here, that you now see it in 
its autumnal colouring, adorned with its berries, of which the Wood 
Thrush is fond. 

TuRDus MTiSTELiNus, Gmel. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 817 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. 

p. 331 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 75. 

Tawny Thrush, Lath. Syn. vol. iii. p. 28. 

Wood Thrush, Turdus melodius, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. i. p. 35. PI. 2. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate LXXIII. Fig. 1. 

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, compressed towards the end ; 
upper mandible with the dorsal outline a little convex, the tip slightly 
declinate, the margins acute, inflected towards the end, slightly notched 
tlose upon the tip ; lower mandible slightly convex in its dorsal line, the 
tip rather obtuse. Head of ordinary size ; neck and body rather slender. 
Feet rather long ; tarsus longish, compressed, slender, anteriorly covered 
with a few elongated scutella, posteriorly edged, longer than the middle 
toe ; toes scutellate above, lateral ones almost equal, the outer connected 
as far as the second joint. 

Plumage rather loose. A few longish bristles at the base of the upper 
mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the third quill longest, the first 
very short. Tail rather short, even, of twelve broad feathers. 

Bill dark brown above, flesh-colour beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet 
pale flesh-colour. The general colour of the upper parts is light yellow- 
ish-brown, the tail and wings a little darker, the lower part of the back 
and the upper tail-coverts green. Eyes margined with a whitish circle. 
Under parts yellowish-white, spotted with blackish-brown, excepting the 
throat, the under tail-coverts, and the middle part of the breast and ab- 

Length 8 inches, extent of wings 13; bill along the ridge /j, along 
the gap 1 ; tarsus 1 \, middle toe \^. 

Adult Female. Plate LXXIII. Fig. 2. 

The female scarcely differs from the male in external appearance. 


The Dog- wood. 

CoRNUS FLORIDA, Willd. Sp. Tl. vol. i. p. 661. Mich. Arbr. Forest, de I'Amer. 
Sept. t. iii. p. 138. PI. iii. Pursh, FL Amer. p. 108 — Tetrandria Monogynia, 
Linn. Capeifolia, Jtiss. 

This plant has already been described at p. 45, a twig of it in flower 
having been represented in Plate VIII. 

( 377 ) 


Fringilla cyanea, Wils. 

PLATE LXXIV. Male, Female, and YouMG. 

The species here presented for inspection is best known to the Cre- 
oles of Louisiana by the name of Petit Papebleu. This is in accordance 
with the general practice of the first settlers of that State, who named all 
the Finches, Buntings, and Orioles, Papes ; and all the Warblers and 
Fly-catchers, Grassels. They made an exception, however, in favour of 
the Rice Bird, which they honoured with the name of Ortolan, an appel- 
lation given in the Island of St Domingo to the Ground Dove, which, 
however, is seldom seen near New Orleans. 

The Indigo Bird arrives in the Southern States from the direction of 
Mexico, along with its relative the Painted Finch, and is caught in trap- 
cages, but with more difficulty than the latter bird. It spreads far and 
wide over the United States, extending from the borders of our Atlantic 
shores to those of our great lakes. It is not a forest bird, bvit prefers the 
skirts of the woods, the little detached thickets in and along the fields, 
the meadows, the gardens, and orchards, and is frequently seen hopping 
along, or perched on a fence, from which it does not disdain to send forth 
its pretty little song. The highest top of a detached tree is, however, 
preferred for this purpose, and the Indigo Bird is to be observed perched 
on this pinnacle, singing at short intervals for half an hour at a time. Its 
song is at first loud and clear, falhng in cadences to a very low key. The 
whole consists of eight or ten notes. The bird now and then launches 
into the air, to cross a field, and sings until it has espied a favourite spot 
amongst the clover, when it immediately becomes silent and dives to the 
ground. The whole of this parade is performed by the male, which is 
alone to be seen, the female at this season keeping amongst the grass or 
the briars along the fields, where her humble plumage hides her in a great 
measure from observation. Some persons have thought that this practice 
was changed towards the latter part of summer, when, by a casual obser- 
ver, only the females are to be seen. The true reason of this, however, is, 
that the young birds of both sexes resemble the mother during the first 


The Indigo Bird is an active and lively little fellow, possesses much 
elegance in his shape, and also a certain degree of firmness in his make, 
which renders him equally a favourite with the Painted Finch, although 
he does not possess the variegated plumage of the latter. When the male 
of the species now before you is in full plumage, the richness of his ap- 
parel cannot fail to attract and please the eye of any observer. It is highly 
glossy, and changes from the brightest azure to green, when placed in a 
strong light. It requires three years to attain this perfect state. The 
female continues in the same very humble vesture which nature first ac- 
corded to her. The males, in the first spring, and not unfrequently du- 
ring the first autumn, are mottled with duU light blue, interspersed among 
the original deep buff of their earlier stage. The blue increases in extent, 
and acquires a deeper tint, as the age of the bird advances. I have often 
seen males two years old which were still much inferior in the beauty of 
their plumage to those which had passed through three springs. Should 
the birds be caught when in full plumage, they gradually lose their brilliant 
tints, which at length become extremely dull. A similar alteration is 
observed to take place in Painted Finches which have been kept in cages 
for a certain period, as well as in the Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, and 
in the Bulfinch, Chaffinch, and other European birds. 

The nest of the Indigo Bird is usually fixed amongst the rankest 
stalks of weeds or grass, now and then amongst the stems of a briar, or 
even in a small hoUow in a decayed tree. In all cases its composition is 
the same ; but when amongst grass, clover, or briars, it is attached to two 
or three of the stalks by its sides. It is formed of coarse grasses, hemp 
stalks, and flax, and is lined with slender grasses. The female lays from 
four to six eggs, which are blue, with a spot or two of purple at the lar- 
ger end. 

Towards fall, the young congregate into loose flocks or parties of eight 
or ten individuals, and proceed southward. I think their migration, at 
both periods of the year, is performed during night. Two broods are ge- 
nerally raised in a season. The food of the Indigo Bird consists of small 
seeds of various kinds, as well as insects, some of which it occasionally pur- 
sues on wing with great vigour. They are fond of basking and rolling them- 
selves in the roads, from which they gather small particles of sand or gravel. 
I have frequently seen live birds of this species offered for sale in Europe. 

I have represented an adult female, two young males of the first and 
second year, in autumn, and a male in the full beauty of its plumage. 


They are placed on a plant usually called the Wild Sarsaparillu. It 
grows in Louisiana, on the skirts of the forests, in low damp places, and 
along the fields, where the Indigo Birds are to be found. It is a creep- 
ing plant, and is considered valuable on account of its medicinal proper- 

Fringilla cyanea, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 107. 
Indigo Bird, Fringilla cyanea, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. i. p. 100. PI. 4. fig. 5. 
Male Ch. Bonaparte, Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. PL 2. fig. 3. Female. 

Male in full plumage. Plate LXXIV. Fig. 1. 

Bill short, robust, conical, a little bulging, straight, acute ; upper 
mandible broader, slightly declinate at the tip ; gap-line a little declinate 
at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, partially concealed by the frontal 
feathers. Head rather large. Neck of ordinary size. Body ovate. 
Feet of ordinary length, rather slender ; tarsus covered anteriorly with a 
few scuteUa, the uppermost long, posteriorly edged ; toes free, scutellate 
above ; claws slender, compressed, arched, acute. 

Plumage glossy, somewhat silky, blended. Wings of ordinary length, 
the second and third quiUs longest. Tail of ordinary length, distinctly 
emarginate, of twelve obtuse feathers. 

Bill brownish-black, light blue beneath. Iris dark brown. Feet 
yellowish-brown. The general colour is a rich sky-blue, deeper on the 
head, lighter beneath, and in certain lights changing to verdigris-green. 
The quills, larger wing-coverts, and tail-feathers, dark brown, margined 
externally with blue. 

Length 5\ inches, extent of wings 7^ ; bill along the ridge j, along 
the gap nearly ^ ; tarsus |. 

Male in the second year. Plate LXXIV. Fig. S. 

Bill lighter, irides and feet as in the adult. Head, neck and body, 
blue, but of a lighter tint ; tail as in the adult ; wings, including the 
lesser coverts, dull brown, the secondary coverts and some of the quills 
margined with blue. 

Male in the first autumn. Plate LXXIV. Fig. % 

Bill, irides and feet as in the last. Head and body of a lighter and 
duller blue, interspersed with brown patches ; wings brown, secondary 
coverts tipped with whitish. 


Adult Female. Plate LXXIV. Fig. 4. 

Bill light brown, tinged with blue. Iris hazel. Feet yellowish- 
brown. The general colour is light yellowish-brown, the under parts 
and the sides of the head lighter ; the wings deep brown, margined with 
lighter. The female is also considerably smaller. 

The Wild Sarsaparilla. 

ScuisANDRA cocciNEA, Mich. Flor. Amer. vol. ii. p. 218. Pursh, Flor. Amer. vol i. 
p. 212. — Pentandria Polygynia, Linn. 

A climbing shrubby plant, distinguished by its carmine-coloured 
flowers, consisting of nine sepals ; its numerous, one-seeded berries, and 
elhptico-lanceolate leaves, acute at both ends, and supported upon a long 

( 381 ) 


Falco temerarius. 


This beautiful little Hawk appears to be nearly allied to the 
European Hobby {Falco Subbuteo, Linn.), and is not inferior to that 
species in spirit and activity. I procured the individual represented, in 
April 1812, near Fatland Ford in Pennsylvania, whilst in pursuit of a 
Dove, which it would doubtless have secured, had I not terminated its 
career. When I first discovered this species, the individual was stand- 
ing perched on an old fence-stake, in the position in which it is figured. 
Never having met with another of the kind, I conclude that it is ex- 
tremely rare in the United States. Of its nest or young I am unable to 
say any thing at present. 

The name which I have given to this new and rare species was 
chosen at the time when Napoleon le grand was in the zenith of his 
glory. Every body knows that his soldiers frequently designated him 
by the nickname of Le Petit Caporal, which I thought more suitable to 
to our little Hawk, than the names Napoleon or Bonaparte, which I 
should have adopted, had I been so fortunate as to procure a new Eagle. 

Falgo temerarius. 

Plate LXXV. 

Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, compressed towards the end, 
the dorsal outline convex from the base ; upper mandible cerate, with the 
edges acute, slightly inflected, and forming a sharp projecting process on 
each side, the tip trigonal, acute, descending ; lower mandible inflected at 
the edges, with a notch near the end on each side, abrupt at the tip. 
Nostrils roundish, with a central tubercle, perforated in the cere. Head 
rather large, neck short, body robust. Legs of ordinary length ; tarsus 
scutellate before and behind ; toes scutellate above, scaly on the sides, 
scabrous and tuberculate beneath ; middle toe much longer than the 



oviter, which is connected with it at the base by a membrane ; claws long, 
curved, roundish, very acute. 

Plumage ordinary compact. Feathers of the head and neck narrow, 
of the back broad and rounded, of the breast oblong. Tibial feathers 
elongated externally. Space between the bill and eye covered with 
bristly feathers. Orbital spaces, and projecting edge of eyebrow bare. 
Wings nearly as long as the tail ; the primary quills narrow and taper- 
ing, the second longest ; the secondary quiUs short and rounded. Tail 
longish, nearly even. 

Bill bluish-black above, yellow beneath. Cere, orbits and eyebrow 
greenish-yellow. Iris hazel. Feet pale orange. The general colour of 
the upper parts is light bluish-grey, darker on the head and wings, each 
feather with a black line along the shaft. Quills brownish-black. Tail 
marked with alternate broad bands of light ash-grey and brownish-black, 
the last black band much broader, the feathers tipped with white. Chin 
and throat yellowish-white; sides of the neck light yellowish-red, streaked 
with dark brown ; lower part of the fore neck, the whole of the breast, 
and the sides, yellowish-white, with large spots of brown. Abdomen and 
under tail-coverts brownish-white ; tibial feathers light reddish, each 
with a central line of blackish-brown. 

Length lOf inches ; bill along the back f ; tarsus 1^, middle toe 1/j. 

( S6S ) 


Hospitality is a virtvie, the exercise of which, although always agree- 
able to the stranger, is not always duly appreciated. The traveller who 
has acquired celebrity, is not unfrequently received with a species of hos- 
pitahty, which is so much alloyed by the obvious attention of the host to 
his own interest, that the favour conferred upon the stranger must have 
less weight, when it comes mingled with almost interminable questions as 
to his perilous adventures. Another receives hospitaUty at the hands of 
persons", who, possessed of all the comforts of Ufe, receive the way-worn 
wanderer with pomposity, lead him from one part of their spacious man- 
sion to another, and bidding him good night, leave him to amuse himself 
in his solitary apartment, because he is thought unfit to be presented to 
a party oi friends. A tliird stumbles on a congenial spirit, who receives 
him with open arms, offers him servants, horses, perhaps even his purse, 
to enable him to pursue his journey, and parts from him with regret. In 
all these cases, the traveller feels more or less under obhgation, and is ac- 
cordingly grateful. But, kind reader, the hospitahty received from the 
inhabitant of the forest, who can offer only the shelter of his humble roof, 
and the refreshment of his homely fare, remains more deeply impressed 
on the memory of the bewildered traveller than any other. This kind of 
hospitality I have myself frequently experienced in our woods, and now 
proceed to relate an instance of it. 

I had walked several hundred miles, accompanied by my son, then a 
stripling, and, coming upon a clear stream, observed a house on the oppo- 
site shore. We crossed in a canoe, and finding that we had arrived at a 
tavern, determined upon spending the night there. As we were both 
greatly fatigued, I made an arrangement with our host to be conveyed in 
a light Jersey waggon a distance of a hundred miles, the period of our 
departure to be determined by the rising of the moon. Fair Cynthia, 
with her shorn beams, peeped over the forest about two hours before 
dawn, and our conductor, provided with a long twig of hickory, took his 
station in the fore-part of the waggon. Off we went at a round trot, 
dancing in the cart like pease in a sieve. The road, which was just wide 
enough to allow vis to pass, was full of deep ruts, and covered here and 
there with trunks and stumps, over all which we were hurried. Our con- 


ductor Mr Flint, the landlord of the tavern, boasting of his perfect 
knowledge of the country, undertook to drive us by a short-cut, and we 
willingly confided ourselves to his management. So we jogged along, 
now and then deviating to double the fallen timber. Day commenced 
with promise of fine weather, but several nights of white frost having oc- 
curred, a change was expected. To our sorrow, the change took place 
long before we got to the road again. The rain fell in torrents ; the 
thunder bellowed ; the lightning blazed. It was now evening, but the 
storm had brought perfect night, black and dismal. Our cart had no 
cover. Cold and wet, we sat silent and melancholy, with no better ex- 
pectation than that of passing the night under the little shelter the cart 
could aiFord us. 

To stop was considered worse than to proceed. So we gave the reins 
to the horses, with some faint hope that they would drag us out of our 
forlorn state. Of a sudden the steeds altered their course, and soon after 
we perceived the glimmer of a faint light in the distance, and almost at 
the same moment heard the barking of dogs. Our horses stopped by 
a high fence, and fell a-neighing, while I hallooed at such a rate, that an 
answer was speedily obtained. The next moment, a flaming pine torch 
crossed the gloom, and advanced to the spot where we stood. The Negro 
boy who bore it, without waiting to question us, enjoined us to follow 
the fence, and said that Master had sent him to shew the strangers to the 
house. We proceeded, much relieved, and soon reached the gate of a 
little yard, in which a small cabin was perceived. 

A tall fine-looking young man stood in the open door, and desired us 
to get out of the cart and walk in. We did so, when the following con- 
versation took place. " A bad night this, strangers ; how came you 
to be along the fence .'' you certainly must have lost your way, for there 
is no public road within twenty miles." " Aye," answered Mr Flint, 
" sure enough we lost our way ; but, thank God ! we have got to a 
house, and thank you for your reception." " Reception !" replied the 
woodsman, " no very great thing after all ; you are all here safe, and 
thafs enough. — Eliza," turning to his wife, " see about some victuals 
for the strangers, and you, Jupiter," addressing the Negro lad, " bring 
some wood and mend the fire. Eliza, call the boys up, and treat the 
strangers the best way you can. Come, gentlemen, pull off your wet 
clothes, and draw to the fire. Eliza, bring some socks and a shirt or 


For my part, kind reader, knowing my countrymen as I do, I was 
not much struck at all this ; but my son, who had scarcely reached the 
age of fourteen, drew near to me, and observed how pleasant it was to 
have met with such good people. Mr Flint bore a hand in getting his 
horses put under a shed. The young wife was already stirring with so 
much Hveliness, that to have doubted for a moment that all she did was 
not a pleasure to her would have been impossible. Two Negro lads made 
their appearance, looked at us for a moment, and going out, called the 
dogs. Soon after the cries of the poultry informed us that good cheer 
was at hand. JapiTER brought more wood, the blaze of which illumined 
the cottage. Mr Flint and our host returned, and we already began to 
feel the comforts of hospitality. The woodsman remarked that it was a 
pity we had not chanced to come that day three weeks ; " for," said he, 
" it was our wedding-day, and father gave us a good house-warming, and 
you might have fared better; but, however, if you can eat bacon and 
eggs, and a broiled chicken, you shall have that. I have no whisky in 
the house, but father has some capital cider, and 111 go over and bring a 
keg of it."" I asked how far off his father lived. " Only three miles. 
Sir, and I'll be back before Eliza has cooked your supper." Off he went 
accordingly, and the next moment the gallopping of his horse was heard. 
The rain fell in torrents, and now I also became struck with the kindness 
of our host. 

To all appearance the united ages of the pair under whose roof we 
had found shelter did not exceed two score. Their means seemed barely 
sufficient to render them comfortable, but the generosity of their young 
hearts had no limits. The cabin was new. The logs of which it was 
formed were all of the tulip-tree, and were nicely pared. Every part 
was beautifully clean. Even the coarse slabs of wood that formed the 
floor looked as if newly washed and dried. Sundry gowns and petticoats 
of substantial homespun hung from the logs that formed one of the sides 
of the cabin, while the other was covered with articles of male attire. A 
large spinning-wheel, with rolls of wool and cotton, occupied one corner. 
In another was a small cupboard, containing the little stock of new dishes, 
cups, plates, and tin pans. The table was small also, but quite new, 
and as bright as polished walnut could be. The only bed that I saw 
was of domestic manufacture, and the counterpane proved how expert 
the young wife was at spinning and weaving. A fine rifle ornamented 
the chimney-piece. The fire-place was of such dimensions that it looked 



as if it had been purposely constructed for holding the numerous progeny 
expected to result from the happy union. 

The black boy was engaged in grinding some coffee. Bread was 
prepared by the fair hands of the bride, and placed on a flat board in 
front of the fire. The bacon and eggs already murmured and spluttered 
in the frying-pan, and a pair of chickens puffed and swelled on a gridiron 
over the embers, in front of the hearth. The cloth was laid, and every 
thing arranged, when the clattering of hoofs announced the return of the 
husband. In he came, bearing a two-gallon keg of cider. His eyes 
sparkled with pleasure as he said, " Only think, Eliza ; father wanted 
to rob us of the strangers, and was for coming here to ask them to his 
own house, just as if we could not give them enough ourselves ; but here's 
the drink — Come gentlemen, sit down and help yourselves." We did 
so, and I, to enjoy the repast, took a chair of the husband's making in 
preference to one of those called Windsor, of which there were six in the 
cabin. This chair was bottomed with a piece of deer's skin tightly 
stretched, and afforded a very comfortable seat. 

The wife now resumed her spinning, and the husband filled a jug 
with the sparkling cider, and, seated by the blazing fire, Avas drying his 
clothes. The happiness he enjoyed beamed from his eye, as at my re- 
quest he proceeded to give us an account of his affairs and prospects, 
which he did in the following words : — " I will be twenty-two next 
Christmas-day,"" said our host ; " My father came from Virginia when 
young, and settled on the large tract of land where he yet lives, and 
where with hard working he has done well. There were nine children 
of us. Most of them are married and settled in the neighbourhood. The 
old man has divided his lands among some of us, and bought others for 
the rest. The land where I am he gave me two years ago, and a finer 
piece is not easily to be found. I have cleared a couple of fields, and 
planted an orchard. Father gave me a stock of cattle, some hogs, and 
four horses, with two Negro boys. I camped here for most of the time 
when clearing and planting ; and when about to marry the young woman 
you see at the wheel, father helped me in raising this hut. My wife, as 
luck would have it, had a Negro also, and we have begun the world as 

well off as most folks, and, the Lord willing, may but, gentlemen, 

you don't eat; do help yourselves — Eliza, maybe the strangers would 
like some milk." The wife stopped her work, and kindly asked if we 
preferred sweet or sour milk ; for you must know, reader, that sour milk 


is by some of our farmers considered a treat. Both sorts were produced, 
but, for my part, I chose to stick to the cider. 

Supper over, we all neared the fire, and engaged in conversation. At 
length our kind host addressed his wife as follows : — " Eliza, the gen- 
tlemen would like to Ue down, I guess. What sort of bed can you fix 
for them ?''' Eliza looked up with a smile, and said : " Why, Willy, 
we wiU divide the bedding, and arrange half on the floor, on which we 
can sleep very well, and the gentlemen wiU have the best we can spare 
them." To this arrangement I immediately objected, and proposed lying 
on a blanket by the fire ; but neither Willy nor Eliza would Usten. So 
they arranged a part of their bedding on the floor, on which, after some 
debate, we at length settled.. The Negroes were sent to their own cabin, 
the young couple went to bed, and Mr Flint luUed us all asleep, with 
a long story intended to shew us how passing strange it was that he 
should have lost his way. 

" Tired nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep," — and so forth. But 
Aurora soon turned her off. Mr Speed, our host, rose, went to the door, 
and returning assured us that the weather was too bad for us to attempt 
proceeding. I really beheve he was heartily glad of it ; but anxious to 
continue our journey, I desired Mr Flint to see about his horses. Eliza 
by this time was up too, and I observed her whispering to her husband, 
when he immediately said aloud, " To be sure, the gentlemen will eat 
breakfast before they go, and I will shew them the way to the road." Ex- 
cuses were of no avail. Breakfast was prepared and eaten. The weather 
brightened a httle, and by nine we were under way. Willy on horse- 
back headed us. In a few hours, oiu* cart arrived at a road, by follow- 
ing which we at length got to the main one, and parted from our woods- 
man with the greater regret that he would accept nothing from any of 
us. On the contrary, telHng Mr Flint with a smile, that he hoped he 
might some time again follow the longest track for a short cut, he bade 
us adieu, and trotted back to his fair Eliza and his happy home. 


( 388 ) 

PLATE LXXVI. Male, Female, and Young. 

The common name given to this bird in the Eastern and Middle 
Districts of our Union is that of Quail, but in the Western and Southern 
States, the more appropriate appellation of Partridge is bestowed upon 
it. It is abundantly met with in all parts of the United States, but more 
especially towards the interior. In the States of Ohio and Kentucky, 
where they are very abundant, they are to be seen in the markets, both 
dead and alive, in large quantities. 

This species performs occasional migrations from the north-west to the 
south-east, usually in the beginning of October, and somewhat in the man- 
ner of the Wild Turkey. For a few weeks at this season, the northwest- 
ern shores of the Ohio are covered with flocks of Partridges. They ram- 
ble through the woods along the margin of the stream, and generally fly 
across towards evening. Like the Turkeys, many of the weaker Par- 
tridges often fall into the water, while thus attempting to cross, and ge- 
nerally perish ; for although they swim surprisingly, they have not mus- 
cular power sufficient to keep up a protracted struggle, although, when 
they have fallen within a few yards of the shore, they easily escape being 
drowned. I have been told by a friend that a person residing in Phila- 
delphia had a hearty laugh on hearing that I had described the Wild 
Turkey as swimming for some distance, when it had accidentally fallen 
into the water. But be assured, kind reader, almost every species of 
land-bird is capable of swimming on such occasions, and you may easily 
satisfy yourself as to the accuracy of my statement by throwing a Turkey, 
a Common Fowl, or any other bird into the water. As soon as the Par- 
tridges have crossed the principal streams in their way, they disperse in 
flocks over the country, and return to their ordinary mode of life. 

The flight of these birds is generally performed at a short distance 
from the ground. It is rapid, and is continued by numerous quick flaps 
of the wings for a certain distance, after which the bird sails until about 
to alight, when again it flaps its wings to break its descent. When chased 
by dogs, or started by any other enemy, they fly to the middle branches 


of trees of ordinary size, where they remain until danger is over. They 
walk \vith ease on the branches. If they perceive that they are observed, 
they raise the feathers of their head, emit a low note, and fly off either to 
some higher branch of the same tree, or to another tree at a distance. 
When these birds rise on wing of their own accord, the whole flock takes 
the same course ; but when put up (in the sportsman's phrase), they dis- 
perse, after alighting call to each other, and soon after unite, each 
running or flying towards the well-known cry of the patriarch of the 
covey. During deep and continued snows, they often remain on the 
branches of trees for hours at a time. 

The usual cry of this species is a clear whistle, coipposed of three 
notes ; the first and last nearly equal in length, the latter less loud than 
the first, but more so than the intermediate one. When an enemy is 
perceived they immediately utter a lisping note, frequently repeated, and 
run off" with their tail spread, their crest erected, and their wings droop- 
ing,' towards the shelter of some thicket or the top of a fallen ti'ee. At 
other times, when one of the flock has accidentally strayed to a distance 
from its companions, it utters two notes louder than any of those men- 
tioned above, the first shorter and lower than the second, when an answer 
is immediately returned by one of the pack. This species has moreover 
a love-call, which is louder and clearer than its other notes, and can be 
heard at a distance of several hundred yards. It consists of three distinct 
notes, the two last being loudest, and is peculiar to the male bird. A 
fancied similarity to the words Bob White renders this call familiar to the 
sportsman and farmer ; but these notes are always preceded by another, 
easily heard at a distance of thirty or forty yards. The three togetlier 
resemble the words Ah Bob White. The first note is a kind of aspiration, 
and the last is very loud and clear. This whistle is seldom heard after 
the breeding season, during which an imitation of the peculiar note of 
the female will make the male fly towards the sportsman, who may then 
easily shoot it. 

In the Middle Districts, the love-call of the male is heard about the 
middle of April, and in Louisiana much earUer. The male is seen perch- 
ed on a fence-stake, or on the low branch of a tree, standing nearly in 
the same position for hours together, and calling Ah Bob White at every 
interval of a few minutes. Should he hear the note of a female, he sails 
directly towards the spot whence it proceeded. Several males may be 
heai'd from different parts of a field challenging each other, and should 


they meet on the ground, they fight with great courage and obstinacy, 
until the conqueror drives off his antagonist to another field. 

The female prepares a nest composed of grasses, arranged in a circu- 
lar form, leaving an entrance not unlike that of a common oven. It is 
placed at the foot of a tuft of rank grass or some close stalks of corn, and 
is partly sunk in the ground. The eggs are from ten to eighteen, rather 
sharp at the smaller end, and of a pure white. The male at times assists 
in hatching them. This species raises only one brood in the year, unless 
the eggs or the young when yet small have been destroyed. When this 
happens, the female immediately prepares another nest ; and should it also 
be ravaged, sometimes even a third. The young run about the moment 
after they make their appearance, and follow their parents until spring, 
when, having acquired their full beauty, they pair and breed. 

The Partridge rests at night on the ground, either amongst the grass 
or under a bent log. The individuals which compose the flock form a 
ring, and moving backwards, approach each other until their bodies are 
nearly in contact. This arrangement enables the whole covey to take 
wing when suddenly alarmed, each flying off in a direct course, so as not 
to interfere with the rest. 

These birds are easily caught in snares, common dead-falls, traps and 
penSj Uke those for the Wild Turkey, but proportionate to the size of 
the bird. Many are shot, but the principal havock is effected by means 
of nets, especially in the Western and Southern States. The method 
emjiloyed is as follows : 

A number of persons on horseback, provided with a net, set out in 
search of Partridges, riding along the fences or briar-thickets, which the 
birds are known to frequent. One or two of the party whistle in imita- 
tion of the second call-note above described, and as Partridges are plen- 
tiful, the call is soon answered by a covey, when the sportsmen imme- 
diately proceed to ascertain their position and number, seldom consider- 
ing it worth while to set the net when there are only a few birds. They 
approach in a careless manner, talking and laughing as if merely passing 
by. When the birds are discovered, one of the party gallops off in a 
circuitous manner, gets in advance of the rest by a hundred yards or 
more, according to the situation of the birds, and their disposition to run, 
Avhile the rest of the sportsmen move about on their horses, talking to 
each other, but at the same time watching every motion of the Partridges. 
The person in advance being provided with the net, dismounts, and at 


once falls to placing it, so that his companions can easily drive the Par- 
tridges into it. No sooner is the machine ready, than the net-bearer re- 
mounts and rejoins the party. The sportsmen separate to a short dis- 
tance, and follow the Partridges, talking and whistling, clapping their 
hands, or knocking upon the fence-rails. The birds move with great 
gentleness, following each other, and are kept in the right direction by 
the sportsmen. The leading bird approaches and enters the mouth of 
the net, the others follow in succession, when the net-bearer leaps from 
his horse, runs up and secures the entrance, and soon dispatches the 
birds. In this manner, fifteen or twenty Partridges are caught at one 
driving, and sometimes many hundreds in the course of a day. Most 
netters give liberty to a pair out of each flock, that the breed may be 

The success of driving depends much on the state of the weather. 
Drizzly rain or melting snow are the best, for in such weather Partridges 
and Gallinaceous Birds in general will run to a great distance rather than 
fly ; whereas if the weather be dry and clear, they generally take to 
wing the moment they discover an intruder, or squat so that they cannot 
be driven without very particular care. Again, when the flocks are 
found in the woods, they run off so briskly and so far, that it is difficult 
for the net-bearer to place liis machine in time. 

The net is cylindrical, thirty or forty feet in length, by about two in 
diameter, excepting at the mouth or entrance, where it is rather larger, 
and at the extremity, where it assumes the form of a bag. It is kept 
open by means of small wooden hoops, at a distance of two or three feet 
from each other. The mouth is furnished with a semicircular hoop, 
sharpened at both ends, which are driven into the ground, thus afford- 
ing an easy entrance to the birds. Two pieces of netting called wings, of 
the same length as the cylindrical one, are placed one on each side of the 
mouth, so as to form an obtuse angle with each other, and are supported 
by sticks thrust into the ground, the wings having the appearance of 
two low fences leading to a gate. The whole is made of light and strong 

The Virginian Partridge is easily kept in cages or coops, and soon 
becomes very fat. Attempts at rearing them from the eggs have gene- 
rally failed, probably for want of proper care, and a deficiency of insects, 
on which the young feed. The ordinary food of the species consists of 
seeds of various kinds, and such berries as grow near the surface of the 


ground, along with which they pick up a quantity of sand or gravel. 
Towards autumn, when the young have nearly attained their full size, 
their flesh becomes fat, juicy and tender, and being moreover white and 
extremely agreeable to the palate, is in much request. Twenty years 
ago, they were commonly sold at twelve cents the dozen ; but now they 
are more commonly sold at fifty cents. They suflPer greatly in the Mid- 
dle Districts during severe winters, and are killed in immense numbers. 

This bird has been introduced into various parts of Europe, but is 
not much liked there, being of such pugnacious habits as to drive off the 
common Grey Partridge, which is considered a better bird for the table. 

In the Plate I have represented a group of Partridges attacked by a 
Hawk. The different attitudes exhibited by the former cannot fail to give 
you a lively idea of the terror and confusion which prevail on such oc- 

Perdix virgikiana, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 650 Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of 

Birds of the United States, p. 124. 
Tetrad virginiantts, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 277. 
Quail or Partridge, Perdix virginiana, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 21. 

PI. 47. fig. 2. Male. 

Adult Male. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 1, 1, 1, 1. 

Bill short, robust, rather obtuse, the base covered by feathers ; upper 
mandible with the dorsal outline curved, the sides convex, the edges 
overlapping, the tip declinate ; under mandible nearly straight in its 
dorsal outline, arched on the edges, the sides convex. Nostrils concealed 
among the feathers. Head and neck of ordinary size. Body short and 
bulky. Feet of ordinary length ; tarsus anteriorly scutellate, a little 
compressed, spurless ; toes scutellate above, pectinate on the sides ; claws 
arched, obtuse. 

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the upper part of the head 
erectile into a tuft. Wings short, broad, much curved and rounded, the 
fourth quill longest. Tail short, rounded, of twelve rounded feathers. 

Bill dark brown. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue. The forehead, a 
broad line over each eyej and the throat and fore-neck, white. Lore, au- 
ricular coverts, and a broad irregular semilunar band on the fore-neck, 
more or less black. Upper part of the head, hind and lower part 
of the neck all rovmd, reddish-brown. Upper back and wing-coverts 


bright brownish-red ; the lower part of the back light red tinged with 
yellow. Primaries dusky, externally margined with blue ; secondaries 
irregularly barred with light red. Tail greyish-blue, excepting the mid- 
dle feathers, which are dull greyish-yellow, sprinkled with black. Sides 
of the neck spotted with white. Under parts white, streaked with brown- 
ish-red, transversely and undulatingly barred with black. Sides and un- 
der tail-coverts reddish. 

Length 10 inches, extent of wings 15 ; bill along the back ^, along 
the gap /^ ; tarsus I, middle toe nearly the same. 

Young Male. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 2,2. 

Similar to the adult male in the general distribution of the colours ; 
but the white of the head and throat bright reddish-yellow, the black of 
the fore-neck and sides of the head deep brown, the under parts less pure 
and more dusky, and the tail of a duller grey. 

Adult Female. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 3, 3, 3. 

The female resembles the young male, but is more decidedly colour- 
ed, the bill darker, the head of a more uniform and richer reddish-yel- 
low, the sides of the neck spotted with yellow and black. 

Length 9^ inches, extent of wings 14. 

Young Female. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 4, 4. 4. 

The young females are somewhat smaller and lighter in their tints 
than the yonng males. 

Very Young Birds. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5, 5. 

Bill brownish-yellow. Iris light hazel. The general colour of the 
upper parts light yellowish-brown, patched with grey ; sides of the head 

( 394 ) 


Alcedo Alcyon, Linn, 
PLATE LXXVII. Male and Female. 

You must not suppose, good-natured reader, that the lives which I 
try to write, are short or lengthy according to the natural dimensions of 
the objects themselves ; for if with the representation of a large bird, I 
present you with a long history of its habits, it is merely because that 
bird, being perhaps more common, and therefore more conspicuous, I have 
had better and more frequent opportunities of studying them. This hap- 
pens to be the case with the bird which I proceed to describe. 

The Belted Kingsfisher ! — Now, kind reader, were I infected with the 
desire of giving new names to well-known objects, you may be assured 
that, notwithstanding the partly appropriate name given to this bird, I 
should call it, as I think it ought to have been called, the Utiiied States'' 
Kingsfisher. My reason for this will, I hope, become apparent to you, 
when I say that it is the only bird of its genus found upon the inland 
streams of the Union. Another reason of equal force might be adduced, 
which is, that, although the males of all denominations have, from time 
immemorial, obtained the supremacy, in this particular case the term 
Belted applies only to the female, the male being destitute of the belt or 
band by which she is distinguished. But names already given and re- 
ceived, whether apt or inapt, I am told, must not be meddled with. To 
this law I humbly submit, and so proceed, contenting myself with feeling 
assured that many names given to birds might, with much benefit to the 
student of nature, become the subjects of reform. 

The Belted Kingsfisher is a constant resident in the States of Loui- 
siana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and all the districts that lie to the south of 
North Carolina. Its inland migrations along the windings of our noble 
rivers extend far and wide, over the whole of the United States. In all 
those portions which I have visited it also breeds, although it returns to 
the south from many parts during severe winters. 

The flight of this bird is rapid, and is prolonged according to its ne- 
cessities, extending at times to considerable distances, in which case it is 
performed high in the air. When, for instance, the whole course of one 


of our northern rivers becomes frozen, the Kingsfisher, instead of skim- 
ming closely over the surface that no longer aUows it to supply itself 
with food, passes high above the tallest trees, and tiakes advantage of 
every short cut which the situation of the river afiPords. By this means it 
soon reaches a milder climate. This is also frequently the case, when it 
seems tired of the kind of fish that occurs in a lake, and removes to another 
in a direct line, passing over the forests, not unfrequently by a course of 
twenty or thirty miles towards the interior of the country. Its motions 
when on %ving consist of a series of flaps, about five or six in number, fol- 
lowed by a direct gUde, without any apparent undulation. It moves in 
the same way when flying closely over the water. 

If, in the course of such excursions, the bird passes over a small pool, 
it suddenly checks itself in its career, poises itself in the air, like a Spar- 
row-hawk or Kestril, and inspects the water beneath, to discover whether 
there may be fishes in it suitable to its taste. Should it find this to be 
the case, it continues poised for a few seconds, dashes spirally headlong 
into the water, seizes a fish, and alights on the nearest tree or stump, 
where it swallows its prey in a moment. 

The more usual range of the Belted Kingsfisher, however, is confined 
to the rivers and creeks that abound throughout the United States ; aU 
of which, according to the seasons, are amply supphed with various 
fishes, on the fry of which this bird feeds. It follows their course up to 
the very source of the small rivulets ; and it is not unusual to hear the 
hard, rapid, rattUng notes of oiu* Kingsfisher, even amongst the murmur- 
ing cascades of our higher mountains. When the bird is found in such 
sequestered situations, well may the angler be assured that trout is abun- 
dant. Mill-ponds are also favourite resorts of the Kingsfisher, the usual 
calmness of the water in such places permitting it to discover its prey 
with ease. As the freshets are proportionally less felt on the adjoining 
shores, the holes dug in the earth or sand by this species, in which it de- 
posits its eggs, are generally found in places not far from a mill worked 
by water. 

I have laid open to my Aaew several of these holes, in different situa- 
tions and soils, and have generally found them to be formed as follows. 
The male and female, after having fixed upon a proper spot, are seen 
clinging to the bank of the stream in the manner of Woodpeckers. 
Their long and stout bills are set to work, and as soon as the hole has 
acquired a certain depth, one of the birds enters it, and scratches out the 


sand, earth or clay, with its feet, striking meanwhile with its bill to ex- 
tend the depth. • The other bird all the while appears to cheer the la- 
bourer, and urge it to continue its exertions ; and, when the latter is fa- 
tigued, takes its place. Thus, by the co-operation of both, the hole is 
dug to the depth of four, five, or sometimes six feet, in a horizontal di- 
rection, at times not more than eighteen inches below the surface of the 
ground, at others eight or ten feet. At the Chicasaw Bluffs, on the Mis^ 
sissippi, I have seen some of these holes more than fifty feet below the 
surface, but generally beyond reach of the highest freshets. The hole is 
just large enough to admit the passage of a single bird at a time. The 
end is rounded and finished in the form of a common oven, to allow the 
pair or the whole brood to turn round in it at ease. Here, on a few 
sticks and feathers, the eggs are deposited to the number generally of six. 
They are pure white. Incubation continues for sixteen days. In the 
Middle States, these birds seldom raise more than one brood in the year, 
but in the southern usually two. Incubation is performed by both pa- 
rents, which evince great sohcitude for the safety of their young. The 
mother sometimes drops on the water, as if severely wounded, and flut- 
ters and flounders as if unable to rise from the stream, in order to induce 
the intruder to wade or swim after her, whilst her mate, perched on the 
nearest bough, or even on the edge of the bank, jerks his tail, erects his 
crest, rattles his notes with angry vehemence, and then springing off^, 
passes and repasses before the enemy, with a continued cry of despair. 

I have not been able to ascertain whether or not the young are fed 
with macerated food disgorged by the parents into their bills, but I have 
reason to think so, and I have always observed the old ones to swallow 
the fishes which they had caught, before they entered the hole. The 
young are, however, afterwards fed directly on the entire fish ; and I 
have frequently seen them follow the parent birds, and alight on the 
same branch, flapping their wings, and calling with open bill for the food 
just taken out of the water, when the petition was seldom denied. 

The Kingsfisher resorts to the same hole, to breed and roost, for 
many years in succession. On one occasion, when I attempted two even- 
ings to seize one of these birds, long after night had closed, I tried in 
vain the first time. I fitted a small net bag to the entrance, and return- 
ed home. Next morning the bird had scratched a passage under the 
net, and thus escaped. The following evening I saw it enter the hole, 
and having procured a stick that filled the entrance for upwards of a 


foot, I felt certain of obtaining it ; but before I reached the place next 
day, it had worked its way out. After this, I abandoned my attempt, 
although the bird continued to repose in the same hole. 

No superstitious notions exist in the United States respecting this 
species. The flesh is extremely fishy, oily, and disagreeable to the taste. 
On the contrary, the eggs are fine eating. 

I was ready to put my pen aside, kind reader, when, on consulting 
my journals, all of which are now at hand, I happened to read, that I 
have seen instances of this bird's plunging into the sea after small fry, at 
Powles Hook, in the bay opposite to the City of New York. I am not 
aware that this is a common occurrence. 

-:,... . . . . j::^( i 

Alcedo Alcton, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. \?,(i.—Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 257 — 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 48. 
Belted Kingsfisher, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 637 — Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol, iii. 

p. 59, PI. 23, fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate LXXVII. Fig. I, .3. 

Bill long, straight, tetragonal, tapering to an acute point, compressed 
towards the end ; upper mandible keeled, with the dorsal line straight, 
the edges overlapping ; lower mandible with the dorsal line slightly con- 
vex, the tip ascending ; gap-line extending to beneath the eyes. Nos- 
trils basal, dorsal, oblong, oblique, half-closed by a bare membrane. 
Head large, neck short, body robust. Feet very short ; tarsus roundish, 
anteriorly scutellate, half the length of the middle toe ; outer and middle 
toes nearly equal, inner much shorter, hind toe small ; claws rather 
strong, arched, acute, channelled beneath. 

Plumage compact. Feathers of the head long, narrow, rather loose, 
pointed, and erectile, in the form of a longitudinal crest, of which the an- 
terior feathers are longest. Wings longish, the third primary longest. 
Tail short, even, of twelve broad rounded feathers. 

Bill brownish-black, light greenish-blue at the base. Iris hazel. 
Feet greyish-blue ; claws black. Head, cheeks, hind neck and upper 
parts, generally light blue, the shaft of each feather blackish. A white 
spot before the eye, and a slight streak of the same colour on the under 
eyelid. Quills brownish-black, the base of the primaries barred with 
white, the secondaries blue on the outer web. Two middle tail-feathers 
blue, as are the outer edges of the rest, excepting the outermost ; all, ex- 


ceptihg the two middle ones, brownish-black, barred with white. A 
broad band of white across the neck, broader anteriorly and including 
the chin and throat. A band of blue across the fore part of the breast. 
The rest of the under parts white, excepting the sides, which are mottled 
with blue. 

Length 12i inches, extent of wings 20 ; bill along the ridge 2, along 
the gap 2i ; tarsus ^, middle toe 1 JL. 

Adult Female. Plate LXXVII. Fig. 3. 

The blue of the female is much duller. The band on the upper part of 
the breast is of dull greyish blue and light red intermixed ; below this is 
a narrow band of white, and across the middle of the breast a broad band 
of yellowish-red, of which colour also are the sides. The rest of the un- 
der parts are white, tinged with red. 

( 399 ) 


Troglodytes LUDOviciANUs, Ch. Bonaparte.- 

PLATE LXXVIII. Male and Female. 

Permit me to suggest, kind reader, that I think it always best to see 
and judge of individuals in their own country. There independence 
and ease are more commonly met with, and the observer is less attended 
to. This being admitted, I shall give you the history and life of the 
Great Carolina Wren, as studied in the State of Louisiana, where that 
bird is a constant resident. 

' Its flight is performed by short flappings of the wings, the concave 
under surfaces of which occasion a low rustUng, as the bird moves to the 
distance of a few steps only at each start. It is accompanied by violent 
jerks of the tail and body, and is by no means graceful. In this manner 
the Carolina Wren moves from one fence-rail to another, from log to 
log, up and down among the low branches of bushes, piles of wood, and 
decayed roots of prostrate trees, or between the stalks of canes. Its tail 
is almost constantly erect, and before it starts to make the least flight or 
leap, it uses a quick motion, which brings its body almost into contact 
with the object on wliich it stands, and then springs from its legs. All 
this is accompanied with a strong chirr-up, uttered as if the bird were in 
an angry mood, and repeated at short intervals. 

The quickness of the motions of this active little bird is fully equal to 
that of the mouse. Like the latter, it appears and is out of sight in a mo- 
ment, peeps into a crevice, passes rapidly through it, and shews itself at 
a diffei'ent place the next instant. When satiated with food, or fatigued 
with these multiplied exertions, the little fellow stops, droops its tail, and 
sings with great energy a short ditty something resembling the words 
come-to-me, come-to-me, repeated several times in quick succession, so 
loud, and yet so meUow, that it is always agreeable to listen to them. 
During spring, these notes are heard from all parts of the plantations, 
the damp woods, the swamps, the sides of creeks and rivers, as well as 
from the barns, the stables and the piles of wood, within a few yards of 
the house. I have frequently heard these Wrens singing from the roof 


of an abandoned flat-boat, fastened to the shore, a small distance below 
the city of New Orleans. When its song was finished, the bird went on 
creeping from one board to another, thrust itself through an auger-hole, 
entered through the boat's side at one place, and peeped out at another, 
catching numerous spiders and other insects all the while. It sometimes 
ascends to the higher branches of a tree of moderate size, by climbing 
along a grape-vine, searching diligently amongst the leaves and in the 
chinks of the bark, alighting sidewise against the trunk, and moving like 
a true Creeper.. It possesses the power of creeping and of hopping in a 
nearly equal degree. The latter kind of motion it employs when nearer 
the ground, and among piles of drifted timber. So fond is this bird of 
the immediate neighbourhood of water, that it would be next to impossi- 
ble to walk along the shore of any of the islands of the Mississippi, from 
the mouth of the Oliio to New Orleans, without observing several on each 

Amongst the many species of insects which they destroy, several are 
of an aquatic nature, and are procured by them whilst creeping about 
the masses of drifted wood. Their chirr-up and come-to-me come-to-me 
seldom cease for more than fifteen or twenty minutes at a time, com- 
mencing with the first glimpse of day, and continuing sometimes after 

The nest of the Carolina Wren is usually placed in a hole in some 
low decayed tree, or in a fence-stake, sometimes even in the stable, barn 
or coach-house, should it there find a place suitable for its reception. I 
have found some not more than two feet from the ground, in the stump 
of a tree that had long before been felled by the axe. The materials 
employed in its construction are hay, grasses, leaves, feathers, and horse- 
hair, or the dry fibres of the Spanish moss ; the feathers, hair or moss 
forming the lining, the coarse materials the outer parts. When the hole is 
sufficiently large, the nest is not unfrequently five or six inches in depth, 
although only just wide enough to admit one of the birds at a time. 
The number of eggs is from five to eight. They are of a broad oval 
form, greyish-white, sprinkled with reddish-brown. Whilst at Oakley, 
the residence of my friend James Peiirie, Esq. near Bayou Sara, I 
discovered that one of these birds was in the habit of roosting; in a Wood 
Thrush's nest that was placed on a low horizontal branch, and had been 
filled with leaves that had fallen during the autumn. It was in the habit of 


. thrusting his body beneath the leaves, and I doubt not found the place 
very comfortable. 

They usually raise two, sometimes three broods in a season. The 
young soon come out from the nest, and in a few days after creep and hop 
about with as much nimbleness as the old ones. Their plumage under- 
goes no change, merely becoming firmer in the colouring. 

Many of these birds are destroyed by Weasels and Minxes. It is, 
notwithstanding, one of the most common birds which we have as resi- 
dent in Louisiana. They ascend along the shores of the Mississippi as 
high as the Missouri River, and along the Ohio nearly to Pittsburg, al- 
though they do not occvu: in great numbers in the neighbourhood of that 
city. They are common in Georgia, the Carohnas, Kentucky, Ohio and 
Indiana. A few are to be seen along the Atlantic shores as far as Penn- 
sylvania and New Jersey. In the latter State I have found its nest, near 
a swamp, a few miles from Philadelphia. I never observed them farther 
to the eastward. 

The Dwarf Buck-eye, on a blossomed twig of which you observe a 
pair of Great CaroUna Wrens, is by nature as well as name a low shrub. 
It grows near swampy ground in great abundance. Its flowers, which 
are scentless, are much resorted to by the Humming Birds, on their first 
arrival, as they appear at a very early season. The wood resembles that 
of the Common Horse-chestnut, and its fruit is nearly the same in form 
and colour, but much smaller. I know of no valuable property possessed 
by this beautiful shrub. 

Troglodytes ludovicianus, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, 

p. 93. 
Sylvia ludoviciana, Lath. Ind. Ornith, vol. ii. p. 548. 
Gheat Carolika When, Certhia caroliniana, Wils. Amer. Omith. vol. ii. 

p. 61, PL 12. fig. 5. 

Adult Male. Plate LXXVIII. Fig. 1. 

BiU nearly as long as the head, subulato-conical, slightly arched, 
compressed towards the tip ; upper mandible with the sides convex to- 
wards the end, concave at the base, the edges acute and overlapping ; 
under mandible with the back and sides convex. Nostrils oblong, 
straight, basal, with a cartilaginous lid above, open and bare. Head ob- 
long, neck of ordinary size, body ovate. Legs of orchnary length ; tar- 

c c 


sus longer than the middle toe, compressed, anteriorly scutate, posterior- 
ly edged ; toes, scutellate above, inferiorly granulate ; second and fourth 
nearly equal, the hind toe almost as long as the middle one, third and 
fourth united as far as the second joint ; claws long, slender, acute, ar- 
cuate, much compressed. 

Plumage soft, lax, and tufty. Wings short, very convex, broad and 
rounded, the first quill very short, the fourth longest. Tail rather long, 
curved downwards, much rounded, of twelve narrowish, rounded feathers. 
Bill wood-brown above, bluish beneath. Iris hazel. Legs flesh-co- 
lour. The general colour of the upper part is brownish-red. A yellowish- 
white streak over the eye, extending far down the neck, and edged above 
with dark brown. Quills, coverts and tail barred with blackish-brown ; 
secondary and middle coverts tipped with white ; shafts of the scapulars 
white. Throat greyish-white, under parts reddish-buff, paler behind. 
Under tail-coverts white, barred with blackish. 

Length 5| inches, extent of wings 11 ; bill along the ridge |, along 
the gap j ^ ; tarsus |. 

Adult Female. Plate LXXVIII. Fig. 2. 

The female differs from the male in being lighter above, tinged with 
grey beneath, and in wanting the white tips of the wing-coverts. 

This species and the Marsh Wren form the transition from Troglo- 
dytes to Certhia, resembling the former in habits and colouring, and the 
latter in the form of the bill, as well as partly in habits. 

The Dwarf Buck-eye. 

jEsculus Pavia, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. ii. p. 286. Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. ii. p. 254. 

Heptandria Monogtnia, Linn. Aceka, Jiiss. 

Leaves quinate, smooth, vmequally serrated ; racemes lax ; generally 
with ternate flowers ; corollas tetrapetalous, their connivent claws of the 
length of the calyx ; stamens seven, shorter than the corolla. The flowers 
are scarlet. 

( 403 ) 


PLATE LXXIX. Male and Female. 

The Tyrant Fly-catcher, or, as it is commonly named, the Field 
Martin, or King Bird, is one of the most interesting visitors of the United 
States, where it is to be found during spring and summer, and where, 
were its good qualities appreciated as they deserve to be, it would remain 
unmolested. But man being generally disposed to consider in his sub- 
jects a single fault sufficient to obliterate the remembrance of a thousand 
good qualities, even when the latter are beneficial to his interest, and tend 
to promote his comfort, persecutes the King Bird without mercy, and 
extends his enmity to its whole progeny. This mortal hatred is occa- 
sioned by a propensity which the Tyrant Fly-catcher now and then shews 
to eat a honey-bee, which the narrow-minded farmer looks upon as ex- 
clusively his own property, although he is presently to destroy thousands 
of its race, for the selfish purpose of seizing upon the fruits of their la- 
bours, which he does with as little remorse as if nature's bounties were 
destined for man alone. 

The Field Martin arrives in Louisiana, from the south, about the 
middle of March. Many individuals remain until the middle of Septem- 
ber, but the greater number proceed gradually northwards, and are dis- 
persed over every portion of the United States. For a few days after its 
arrival, it seems fatigued and doleful, and remains perfectly silent. But 
no sooner has it recovered its naturally lively spirits, than its sharp tre- 
mulous cry is heard over the fields, and along the skirts of all our woods. 
It seldom enters the forests, but is fond of orchards, large fields of clover, 
the neighbourhood of rivers, and the gardens close to the houses of the 
planters. In this last situation, its habits are best observed. 

Its flight has now assumed a different manner. The love-season is at 
hand. The male and female are seen moving about through the air, with 
a continued quivering motion of their wings, at a height of twenty or 
thirty yards above the ground, uttering a continual, tremulous, loud 
shriek. The male follows in the wake of the female, and both seem pant- 
ing for a suitable place in which to form their nest. Meanwhile, they 

c c2 


watch the motions of different insects, deviate a httle from the course of 
their playful rounds, and with a sweeping dart secure and swallow the 
prey in an instant. Probably the next sees them perched on the twig of 
a tree, close together, and answering the calls of nature. 

The choice of a place being settled by the happy pair, they procure 
small dry twigs from the ground, and rising to a horizontal branch, ar- 
rancfe them as the foundation of their cherished home. Flakes of cotton, 
wool or tow, and other substances of a similar nature, are then placed in 
thick and regular layers, giving great bulk and consistence to the fabric, 
which is finally Uned with fibrous roots and horse-hair. The female then 
deposits her eggs, which are from four to six in number, broadly ovate, 
reddish- white, or blush colour, irregularly spotted with brown. No soon- 
er has incubation commenced, than the male, full of ardour, evinces the 
most daring courage, and gallantly drives off every intruder. Perched 
on a twig not far from his beloved mate, in order to protect and defend 
her, he seems to direct every thought and action to these objects. His 
snow-white breast expands with the warmest feelings ; the feathers of his 
head are raised and spread, the bright orange spot laid open to the rays 
of the sun ; he stands firm on his feet, and his vigilant eye glances over 
the wide field of vision around him. Should he spy a Crow, a Vulture, 
a Martin, or an Eagle, in the neighbourhood or at a distance, he spreads 
his wings to the air, and pressing towards the dangerous foe, approaches 
him, and commences his attack with fury. He mounts above the enemy, 
sounds the charge, and repeatedly plunging upon the very back of his 
more powerful antagonist, essays to secure a hold. In this manner, ha- 
rassing his less active foe with continued blows of his bill, he follows him 
probably for a mile, when, satisfied that he has done his duty, he gives 
his wings their usual quivering motion, and returns exulting and elated 
to his nest, triUing his notes all the while. 

Few Hawks will venture to approach the farm-yard while the King 
Bird is near. Even the cat in a great measure remains at home ; and, 
should she appear, the little warrior, fearless as the boldest Eagle, plun- 
ges towards her, with such rapid and violent motions, and so perplexes 
her with attempts to peck on all sides, that grimalkin, ashamed of herself, 
returns discomfited to the house. 

The many eggs of the poultry which he saves from the plundering 
Crow, the many chickens that are reared under his protection, safe from 
the clutches of the prowling Hawks, the vast number of insects which he 


devours, and which would otherwise torment the cattle and horses, are 
benefits conferred by him, more than sufficient to balance the few rasp- 
berries and figs which he eats, and calculated to insure for him the favour 
and protection of man. 

The King Bird fears none of his aerial enemies save the Martin ; and 
although the latter frequently aids him in protecting his nest, and watch- 
ing over the farm-yard, it sometimes attacks him with such animosity as 
to force him to retreat, the Alight of the Martin being so superior to that 
of the King Bird in quickness and power, as to enable it to elude the blows 
which the superior strength of the latter might render fatal. I knew an 
instance in which some Martins, that had been sole proprietors of a farm- 
yard for several seasons, shewed so strong an antipathy to a pair of King 
Birds, which had chanced to build their nest on a tree witliin a few yards 
of the house, that, no sooner had the female begun to sit on her eggs, than 
the Martin attacked the male with unremitting violence for several 
days, and, notwithstanding his courage and superior strength, repeatedly 
felled him to the ground, until he at length died of fatigue, when the fe- 
male was beaten off in a state of despair, and forced to seek a new pro- 

The King Bird is often seen passing on the wing over a field of clover, 
diving down to the very blossoms, and reascending in graceful undula- 
tions, snapping his bill, and securing various sorts of insects, now and 
then varying his mode of chase in curious zigzag lines, shooting to the 
right and left, up and down, as if the object which he is pursuing were 
manoeuvring for the purpose of eluding him. 

About the month of August, this species becomes comparatively mute, 
and resorts to the old abandoned fields and meadows. There, perched on 
a fence-stake or a tall muUein stalk, he glances his eye in various direc- 
tions, watching the passing insects, after which he darts with a more di- 
rect motion than in spring. Having secured one, he returns to the same 
or another stalk, beats the insect, and then swallows it. He frequently 
flies high over the large rivers and lakes, sailing and dashing about in 
pursuit of insects. Again, gliding down towards the water, he drinks in 
the manner of various species of Swallow. When the weather is very 
warm, he plunges repeatedly into the water, alights after each plunge on 
the low branch of a tree close by, shakes off the water and plumes him- 
self, when, perceiving some individuals of his tribe passing high over 
head, he ascends to overtake them, and bidding adieu to the country, 
proceeds towards a warmer region. 


The King Bird leaves the Middle States earlier than most other spe- 
cies. While migrating southwards, at the approach of winter, it flies 
with a strong and continued motion, flapping its wings six or seven times 
pretty rapidly, and saihng for a few yards without any undulations, at 
every cessation of the flappings. On the first days of September, I have 
several times observed them passing in this manner, in detached parties 
of twenty or thirty, perfectly silent, and so resembling the Twdus mi- 
gratorhis in their mode of flight, as to induce the looker-on to suppose 
them of that species, until he recognises them by their inferior size. 
Their flight is continued through the night, and by the 1st of October 
none are to be found in the Middle States. The young acquire the full 
colouring of their plumage before they leave us for the south. 

The flesh of this bird is delicate and savoury. Many are shot along 
the Mississippi, not because these birds eat bees, but because the French 
of Louisiana are fond of bee-eaters. I have seen some of these birds that 
had the shafts of the tail-feathers reaching a quarter of an inch beyond 
the end of the webs. 

I have placed a male and a female Field Martin on a twig of the Cot- 
ton-wood Tree. This plant is very appropriate!}) named, for not only 
are the grape-like bunches of seeds filled with a beautiful soft cottony 
substance, but the wood can scarcely be sawed on account of the looseness 
of its inner fibres. It grows to a great height and size, particularly 
along the shores of the Mississippi and Ohio, and in all alluvial grounds 
to the west of the Alleghany Mountains. It is principally used for fire- 
wood and fence-rails, but is of indiff^erent quality for either purpose. 

MuscicAPA TYRANNUS, Briss. vol. ii. p. 391. — C'h. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the 

United States, p. 66. 

Lanius TYRANNUS, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 13C Lath. Ind. Ornitli. vol. i. p. 81. 

Tyrant Shrike, La^A. Synops. vol. i. p. 184. 

Tyrant Fly-catcher, Muscicapa tyrannus, IVils. Amer. Omith. vol.i i. p. 66. 

PI. 13. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate LXXIX. Fig. 1. 

Bill of moderate length, rather stout, subtrigonal, depressed at the 
base, straight ; upper mandible with the dorsal outline nearly straight^ 
and sloping to near the tip, which is deflected and acute, the edges sharp 
and overlapping ; lower mandible with the back broad, the sides slants 
ing, the end slightly declinate. Nostrils basal, lateral, roundish, partly 


covered by the bristly feathers. Head rather large, neck stout, body 
ovate. Feet rather short ; tarsus covered anteriorly with a few scutella, 
compressed, acute behind, about the same length as the middle toe ; toes 
free, scutellate above ; claws arched, compressed, acute. 

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Basirostral bristles long, directed 
outwards. Feathers of the head narrow, elongated, and erectile, forming 
a short longitudinal tuft. Wings rather long, the second and third quills 
longest. Tail rather long, even, of twelve broadly acuminate feathers. 

Bill black. Iris dark brown. Feet greyish-blue. The general co- 
lour of the upper parts is dark bluish-grey, the head darker. Feathers 
along the middle of the crown forming a rich flame-coloured patch, mar- 
gined with yellow. Quills brownish-black, as are the coverts, which, to- 
gether with the secondary quills, are externally margined and tipped with 
duU white. Tail brownish-black, deeper towards the end, each feather 
largely tipped with white, of which colour also is part of the outer web 
of the lateral feathers. Under parts greyish-white, throat and fore-neck 
pure white, the breast tinged with ash-grey. 

Length 8| inches, extent of wings 14^ ; bill along the ridge y^, 
along the gap 1 . 

Adult Female. Plate LXXIX. Fig. 2. 

The female is duUer in colouring ; the upper parts being lighter and 
tinged with brown, the under parts more dusky, the orange spot on the 
head smaller and not so bright, and the white tip of the tail less pure and 
not so extensive. 

The Cotton-wood. 

PoPULrs CANDiCANS, IVilld. Sp. PI. voL iv. p. 806". Pursh. Fl. Araer. vol. ii. p. 618. 
Mich. Arbr. Forest, de I'Amer. Sept. vol. iii. PI. 13.— Dkecia octandria, Linn. 
Amentace^, Juss. 

This species of Poplar is distinguished by its broadly cordate, acumi- 
nate, unequally and obtusely serrated, venous leaves ; hairy petioles, re- 
sinous buds, and round twigs. The leaves are dark green above, whitish 
beneath. The resinous substance with which the buds are covered has 
an agreeable smell. The bark is smooth, of a greenish tint. 

( 408 ) 


I SHOT two of these birds whilst traversing one of the extensive prairies 
of our North-western States. Five of them had been running along the 
foot-path before me, for some time. I at first looked upon them as of 
the Common Brown Titlark species {Anthus Spinoletta), but as they rose 
on the wing, the difference of their notes struck me, and, sliooting at them, 
I had the good fortune to kill two, which I discovered, on examination, 
to be of a new and distinct species, although in the general appearance 
of their plumage they were very nearly allied to the Brown Titlark. The 
rest I pursued in vain, and was forced to abandon the chase on account 
of the approach of night, and the necessity of preparing for rest after a 
long walk. 

The flight of the Prairie Titlark is irregular, and performed by jerks, 
although greatly protracted, when the bird is pursued or frightened. At 
short intervals these birds plunged through the air, came towards the 
ground, and flew close over the prairie, as if about to alight, and again 
rising, made a large circuit. In this manner they continued all the time 
I saw them on wing. Whilst on the ground they ran briskly, vibrating 
their tail, whenever they stopped, and picking up the insects near them. 
The notes of the Prairie Titlark are clear and sharp, consisting of a 
number of tweets, the last greatly prolonged. The two individuals which I 
procured proved to be males. They seemed to be in imperfect plumage, 
it being then the month of October, and the crescent on their breast not 
being so distinctly defined at the surface, as it was deeper among the 
feathers. Of their mode of nestling, and other habits, I can say nothing, 
as I never happened to meet with another individual of the species. 


Male. Plate LXXX. 
' Bill straight, slender, compressed, acuminate ; upper mandible cari- 
nated at the base, rounded on the sides, the edges inflected towards the 


tip, which is slightly declinate and notched ; lower mandible ascending 
in its dorsal outline. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half closed above 
by a membrane. The general form slender. Feet of ordinary length ; 
tarsus slender, compressed ; toes free ; claws of the fore toes arched, com- 
pressed, acute, of the hind toe very long, subulate-compressed, nearly 

Plumage soft, blended. Wings of ordinary length, first, second, and 
third quills longest, the secondaries notched at the tip. Tail long, emar- 

Bill dark brown, the under mandible orange at the base. Iris hazel. 
Feet brownish-black. The general colour of the upper parts is dull 
olive-brown ; a brownish- white line over the eye : auricular coverts 
blackish. Under parts pale yellowish-grey ; an obscure lunule of brown- 
ish-black on the fore neck, the lower part of which, and the sides, are 
streaked with dark brown, and tinged with reddish-brown. 

Length 65 inches, bill along the ridge |, along the gap | ; tarsus ^, 
I, hind toe |. 

middle toe |, hind toe - 

Phlox subulata, Willd. Sp. PI. vol. i. p. 842. Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 151 

Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. Polemonia, Jms. 

Csespitose, pubescent ; leaves linear, pungent, ciliate ; corymbs few- 
flowered ; pedicels trifid ; divisions of the corolla wedge-shaped, emargi- 
nate ; teeth of the calyx subulate, scarcely shorter than the tube of the 
corolla. The flowers are pink, with a purple star in the centre. It grows 
in rocky places, and on barren, gravelly ground, flowering through the 
summer. ; 

( 410 ) 


As I was lounging one fair and very warm morning on the Levee at 
New Orleans, I chanced to observe a gentleman, whose dress and other 
accompaniments greatly attracted my attention. I wheeled about, and 
followed him for a short space, when, judging by every thing about him 
that he was a true original, I accosted him. 

But here, kind reader, let me give you some idea of his exterior. 
His head was covered by a straw hat, the brim of which might cope with 
those worn by the fair sex in 1830 ; his neck was exposed to the wea- 
ther ; the broad frill of a shirt, then fashionable, flapped about his breast, 
whilst an extraordinary coUar, carefully arranged, fell over the top of his 
coat. The latter was of a light green colour, harmonizing well with a 
pair of flowing yellow nankeen trowsers, and a pink waistcoat, from the 
bosom of which, amidst a large bunch of the splendid flowers of the 
Magnolia, protruded part of a young alligator, which seemed more 
anxious to glide through the muddy waters of some retired swamp, than 
to spend its life swinging to and fro among folds of the finest lawn. The 
gentleman held in one hand a cage full of richly-plumed Nonpareils, 
whilst in the other he sported a silk umbrella, on which I could plainly read 
*' Stolen from /," these words being painted in large white characters. 
He walked as if conscious of his own importance, that is, with a good 
.deal of pomposity, singing " My love is but a lassie yet," and that 
with such thorough imitation of the Scotch emphasis, that had not his 
physiognomy brought to my mind a denial of his being from " within a 
mile of Edinbvu-gh," I should have put him down in my journal for a 
true Scot. But no : — ^his tournure, nay, the very shape of his visage, 
pronounced him an American, from the farthest parts of our eastern At- 
lantic shores. 

All this raised my curiosity to such a height, that I accosted him 
with " Pray, Sir, will you allow me to examine the birds you have in 
that cage .?" The gentleman stopped, straightened his body, almost 
closed his left eye, then spread his legs apart, and, with a look altogether 
quizzical, answered, " Birds, Sir, did you say birds .?■" I nodded, and 
he continued, '' What the devil do you know about birds. Sir .?"" 

Reader, this answer brought a blush into my face. I felt as if caught 


in a trap, for I was struck f)y the force of the gentleman's question ; 
which, by the way, was not much in discordance with a not unusual 
mode of granting an answer in the United States. Sure enough, thought 
I, little or perhaps nothing do I know of the natvire of those beautiful 
denizens of the air ; but the next moment vanity gave me a pinch, and 
urged me to conceive that I knew at least as much about birds as the 
august personage in my presence. " Sir," replied I, " I am a student of 
nature, and admire her works, from the noblest figure of man to the 
crawling reptile which you have in your bosom." " Ah !" replied he, 
*' a^a^a naturalist, I presume !" " Just so, my good Sir," was my answer. 
The gentleman gave me the cage ; and I observed from the comer of 
one of my eyes, that his were cunningly inspecting my face. I examined 
the pretty finches as long as I wished, returned the cage, made a low 
bow, and was about to proceed on my walk, when this odd sort of being 
asked me a question quite accordant with my desire of knowing more of 
him : " Will you come with me, Sir ? If you will, you shall see some 
more curious birds, some of which are from different parts of the world. 
I keep quite a collection." I assured him I should feel gratified, and 
accompanied him to his lodgings. 

We entered a long room, where, to my surprise, the first objects that 
attracted my attention were a large easel, with a full length unfinished 
portrait upon it, a table with pallets and pencils, and a number of pic- 
tures of various sizes placed along the walls. Several cages containing 
birds were hung near the windows, and two young gentlemen were busily 
engaged in copying some finished portraits. I was delighted with all I 
saw. Each picture spoke for itself : the drawing, the colouring, the hand- 
ling, the composition, and the keeping- — all proved, that, whoever was 
the artist, he certainly was possessed of superior talents. 

I -did not know if my companion was the painter of the picture, but, 
as we say in America, I strongly guessed, and without waiting any 
longel', paid him the compliments which I thought he fairly deserved. 
" Aye," said he, " the world is pleased with my work, I wish I were so 
too, but time and industry are required as well as talents, to make a 
good artist. If you will examine the birds, I'll to my labour." So 
saying, the artist took up his pallet, and was searching for a rest-stick, 
but not finding the one with which he usually supported his hand, he 
drew the rod of a gun, and was about to sit, when he suddenly threw 
down his implements on the table, and, taking the gun, walked to 


me, and asked if " I had ever seen a percussion-lock." I had not, for 
that improvement was not yet in vogue. He not only explained the supe- 
riority of the lock in question, but undertook to prove that it was capable 
of acting effectually under water. The bell was rung, a flat basin of 
water was produced, the gun was charged with powder, and the lock 
fairly immersed. The report terrified the birds, causing them to beat 
against the gilded walls of their prisons. I remarked this to the artist.' He 
replied, " The devil take the birds ! — more of them in the market ; why. 
Sir, I wish to shew you that I am a marksman as well as a painter." The 
easel was cleared of the large picture, rolled to the further end of the room, 
and placed against the wall. The gun was loaded in a trice, and the painter, 
counting ten steps from the easel, and taking aim at the supporting-pin 
on the left, fired. The bullet struck the head of the wooden pin fairly, 
and sent the splinters in all directions. " A bad shot, sir," said this ex- 
traordinary person, " the ball ought to have driven the pin farther into 
the hole, but it struck on one side ; I'll try at the hole itself." After re- 
loading his piece, the artist took aim again, and fired. The bullet this 
time had accomplished its object, for it had passed through the aperture, 
and hit the wall behind. " Mr , ring the bell and close the win- 
dows," said the painter, and turning to me, continued, " Sir, I will shew 
you the ne plus ultra of shooting." I was quite amazed, and yet so de- 
lighted, that I bowed my assent. A servant having appeared, a lighted 
candle was ordered. When it arrived, the artist placed it in a proper 
position, and retiring some yards, put out the light with a buUet, in the 
manner which I have elsewhere, in this volume, described. When light 
was restored, I observed the uneasiness of the poor little alhgator, as it 
strove to effect its escape from the artist's waistcoat. I mentioned this to 
him. " True, true," he replied, " I had quite forgot the reptile, he shall 
have a dram ;" and unbuttoning his vest, unclasped a small chain, and 
placed the alligator in the basin of water on the table. 

Perfectly satisfied with the acquaintance which I had formed with 
this renowned artist, I wished to withdraw, fearing I might inconvenience 
him by my presence. But my time was not yet come. He bade me sit 
down, and paying no more attention to the young pupils in the room than 
if they had been a couple of cabbages, said, " If you have leisure and will 
stay awhile, I will" shew you how I paint, and will relate to you an in- 
cident of my Ufe, which wiU prove to you how sadly situated an artist is 
at times." In full expectation that more eccentricities were to be witness- 


ed, or that the story would prove a valuable one, even to a naturalist, 
who is seldom a painter, I seated myself at his side, and observed with 
interest how adroitly he transferred the colours from his glistening pallet 
to the canvas before him. I was about to compliment him on his facility 
of touch, when he spoke as follows : 

" This is, sir, or, I ought to say rather, this will be the portrait of one 
of our best navy officers, a man as brave as C^sar, and as good a sailor 
as ever walked the deck of a seventy-four. Do you paint. Sir.?" I repUed 
" Not yet." " Not yet ! what do you mean .?" " I mean what I say •. I 
intend to paint as soon as I can draw better than I do at present." 
" Good," said he, " you are quite right, to draw is the first object ; but, 
sir, if you should ever paint, and paint portraits, you will often meet with 
difficulties. For instance, the brave Commodore, of whom this is the 
portrait, although an excellent man at every thing else, is the worst sit- 
ter I ever saw ; and the incident I promised to relate to you, as one cu- 
rious enough, is connected with his bad mode of sitting. Sir, I forgot 

to ask if you would take any refreshment — a glass of wine, or ." I 

assured him I needed nothing more than his agreeable company, and he 

proceeded. " Well, Sir, the first morning that the Commodore came to 

sit, he was in full uniform, and with his sword at his side. After a few 

moments of conversation, and when all was ready on my part, I bade 

him ascend this thi-one, place himself in the attitude which I contemplated, 

and assume an air becoming an officer of the navy." He mounted, 

placed himself as I had desired, but merely looked at me as if I had been 

a block of stone. I waited a few minutes, when, observing no change 

on his placid countenance, I ran the chalk over the canvas, to form a 

rough outline. This done, I looked up to his face again, and opened a 

conversation which I thought would warm his warUke nature ; but in 

vain. I waited and waited, talked and talked, until my patience — Sir, 

you must know I am not overburdened with phlegm — being almost run 

out, I rose, threw my pallet and brushes on the floor, stamped, walking to 

and fro ajjout the room, and vociferated such calumnies against our navy, 

that I startled the good Commodore. He still looked at me with a placid 

countenance, and, as he has told me since, thought I had lost my 

senses. But I observed him all the while, and, fully as determined to 

carry my point, as he would be to carry off an enemy's ship, I gave my 

oaths additional emphasis, addressed him as a representative of the navy, 

and, steering somewhat clear of personal insult, played off my batteries 


against the craft. The Commodore walked up to me, placed his hand 
on the hilt of his sword, and told me, in a resolute manner, that if I in- 
tended to insult the navy, he would instantly cut off' my ears. His fea- 
tures exhibited all the spirit and animation of his noble nature, and as I 
had now succeeded in rousing the lion, I judged it time to retreat. So, 
changing ray tone, I begged his pardon, and told him he now looked 
precisely as I wished to represent him. He laughed, and returning to his 
seat, assumed a bold countenance. And now. Sir, see the picture ?" 

At some future period, I may present you with other instances of the 
odd ways in which this admired artist gave animation to his sitters. For 
the present, kind reader, we shall leave him finishing the Commodore, 
while we return to our proper studies. 

( 415 ) 



Comparing the great size of this bird, its formidable character, its 
powerful and protracted flight, and the dexterity with which, although a 
land bird, it procures- its prey from the waters of the ocean, with the very 
inferior powers of the bird named the Kingsfisher, I should be tempted 
to search for a more appropriate appellation than that of Fish-Hawk, 
and, were I not a member of a republic, might fancy that of Imperial 
Fisher more applicable to it. 

The habits of this famed bird differ so materially from those of almost 
all others of its genus, that an accurate description of them cannot fail 
to be highly interesting to the student of nature. 

The Fish Hawk may be looked upon as having more of a social dis- 
position than most other Hawks. Indeed, with the exception of the 
Swallow-tailed Hawk {Folcojurcatus), I know none so gregarious in its 
habits. It migrates in numbers, both during spring, when it shews itself 
along our Atlantic shores, lakes, and rivers, and during autumn, when it 
retires to warmer climes. At these seasons, it appears in flocks of eight 
or ten individuals, following the windings of our shores in loose bodies, 
advancing in easy sailings or flappings, crossing each other in their gyra- 
tions. During the period of their stay in the United States, many pairs 
are seen nestling, rearing their young, and seeking their food, within so 
short a distance of each other, that while following the margins of our 
eastern shores, a Fish Hawk or a nest belonging to the species, may be 
met with at every short interval. 

The Fish Hawk may be said to be of a mild disposition. Not only 
do these birds live in perfect harmony together, but they even allow other 
birds of very different character to approach so near to them as to build 
their nests of the very materials of which the outer parts of their own are 
constructed. I have never observed a Fish Hawk chasing any other bird 
whatever. So pacific and timorous is it, that, rather than encounter a 
foe but little more powerful than itself, it abandons its prey to the White- 
headed Eagle, which, next to man, is its greatest enemy. It never forces 
its young from the flest, as some other Hawks do, but, on the contrary. 


is seen to feed them even when they have begun to procure food foi- 
themselves. ' 

Notwithstanding all these facts, a most erroneous idea prevails among 
our fishermen, and the farmers along our coasts, that the Fish Hawk's 
nest is the best scare-crow they can have in the vicinity of their houses or 
grounds. As these good people affirm, no Hawk will attempt to commit 
depredations on their poultry, so long as the Fish Hawk remains in the 
country. But the absence of most birds of prey from those parts at the 
time when the Fish Hawk is on our coast, arises simply from the neces- 
sity of retiring to the more sequestered parts of the interior for the pur- 
pose of rearing their young in security, and the circumstance of their vi- 
siting the coasts chiefly at the period when myriads of water-fowl resort 
to our estuaries at the approach of winter, leaving the shores and salt- 
marshes at the return of spring, when the Fish Hawk arrives. However, 
as this notion has a tendency to protect the latter bird, it may be so far 
useful, the fisherman always interposing when he sees a person bent upon 
.the destruction of his favourite bird. 

The Fish Hawk differs from all birds of prey in another important 
particular, which is, that it never attempts to secure its prey in the air, 
although its rapidity of flight might induce an observer to suppose it per- 
fectly able to do so. I have spent weeks on the Gulf of Mexico, where 
these birds are numerous, and have observed them sailing and plung- 
ing into the water, at a time when numerous shoals of flying-fish were 
emerging from the sea to evade the pursuit of the dolphins. Yet the 
Fish Hawk never attempted to pursue any of them while above the 
surface,, but would plunge after one of them or a bonita-fish, after they 
had resumed their usual mode of swimming near the surface. 

The motions of the Fish Hawk in the air are graceful, and as majes- 
tic as those of the Eagle. It rises with ease to a great height by exten- 
sive circlings, performed apparently by mere inclinations of the wings and 
tail. It dives at times to some distance with the wings partially closed, 
and resumes its sailing, as if these plunges were made for amusement 
only. Its wings are extended at right angles to the body, and when thus 
flying it is easily distinguishable from all other Hawks by the eye of an 
observer accustomed to note the flight of birds. Whilst in search of food, 
it flies with easy flappings at a moderate height above the water, and with 
an apparent listlessness, although in reality it is keenly observing the ob- 
jects beneath. No sooner does it spy a fish suited to its taste, than it 


checks its course with a sudden shake of its wings and tail, which gives 
it the appearance of being poised in the air for a moment, after wliich it 
plunges headlong with great rapidity into the water, to secure its prey, 
or continue its flight, if disappointed by having observed the fish sink 

When it plunges into the water in pursuit of a fish, it sometimes pro- 
ceeds deep enough to disappear for an instant. The surge caused by its 
descent is so great as to make the spot around it present the appearance 
of a mass of foam. On rising with its prey, it is seen holding it in the 
manner represented in the Plate. It mounts a few yards into the air, 
shakes the water from its plumage, squeezes the fish with its talons, and 
immediately proceeds towar&s its nest, to feed its young, or to a tree, to 
devour the fruit of its industry in peace. When it has satisfied its hunger, 
it does not, like other Hawks, stay perched until hunger again urges it 
forth, but usually sails about at a great height over the neighbouring 

The Fish Hawk has a great attachment to the tree to which it carries 
its prey, and will not abandon it, unless frequently disturbed, or shot at 
whilst feeding there. It shews the same attachment to the tree on which 
it has built its first nest, and returns to it year after year. 

This species arrives on the southern coasts of the United States early 
in the month of February, and proceeds eastward as the season advances. 
In the Middle Districts, the fishermen hail its appearance with joy, as it 
is the harbinger of various species of fish which resort to the Atlantic 
coasts, or ascend the numerous rivers. It arrives in the Middle States 
about the beginning of April, and returns southward at the first appear- 
ance of frost. I have occasionally seen a few of these birds on the muddy 
lakes of Louisiana, in the neighbourhood of New Orleans, during the 
winter months ; but they appeared emaciated, and were probably unable 
to follow their natural inclinations, and proceed farther south. 

As soon as the females make their appearance, which happens eight 
or ten days after the arrival of the males, the love-season commences, and 
soon after, incubation takes place. The loves of these birds are conducted 
in a different way from those of the other Falcons. The males are seen 
playing through the air amongst themselves, chasing each other in sport, 
or sailing by the side or after the female which they have selected, uttering 
cries of joy and exultation, alighting on the branches of the tree on which 
their last year's nest is yet seen remaining, and doubtless congratulating 

D -1 


each other on finding their home again. Their caresses are mvitual. 
They begin to augment their habitation, or to repair the injuries which it 
may have sustained during the winter, and are seen saiHng together to- 
wards the shores, to collect the drifted sea-weeds with which they line the 
nest anew. They alight on the beach, search for the driest and largest 
weeds, collect a mass of them, clench them in their talons, and fly towards 
their nest with the materials dangling beneath. They both alight and 
labour together. In a fortnight the nest is complete, and the female de- 
posits her eggs, which are three or four in number, of a broadly oval 
form, yellowish-white, densely covered with large irregular spots of red- 

The nest is generally placed in a large tree in the immediate vicinity 
of the water, whether along the seashore, on the margins of the inland 
lakes, or by some large river. It is, however, sometimes to be seen in 
the interior of a wood, a mile or more from the water. I have concluded 
that, in the latter case, it was on account of frequent disturbance, or at- 
tempts at destruction, that the birds had removed from their usual haunt. 
The nest is very large, sometimes measuring fully four feet across, and is 
composed of a quantity of materials sufficient to render its depth equal to 
its diameter. Large sticks, mixed with sea- weeds, tufts of strong grass, and 
other materials, form its exterior, while the interior is composed of sea- 
weeds and finer grasses. I have not observed that any particular species 
of tree is preferred by the Fish Hawk. It places its nest in the forks of 
an oak or a pine with equal pleasure. But I have observed that the tree 
chosen is usually of considerable size, and not unfrequently a decayed one. 
I dare not, however, affirm that the juices of the plants which compose the 
nest, ever become so detrimental to the growth of a tree as ultimately to 
kill it. In a few instances, I have seen the Fish Crow and the Purple 
Grakle raising their families in nests built by them among the outer 
sticks of the Fish Hawk's nest. 

The male assists in incubation, during the continuance of which the 
one bird supplies the other with food, although each in turn goes in quest 
of some for itself. At such times the male bird is now and then observed 
rising to an immense height in the air, over the spot where his mate is 
seated. This he does by ascending almost in a direct line, by means of 
continued flappings, meeting the breeze with his white breast, and occa- 
sionally uttering a cackling kind of note, by which the bystander is 
enabled to follow him in his progress. When the Fish Hawk has at- 

FISH HAWK. .419 

tained its utmost elevation, which is sometimes such that the eye can no 
longer perceive him, he utters a loud shriek, and dives smoothly on half- 
extended wings towards his nest. But before he reaches it, he is seen to 
expand his wings and tail, and in this manner he glides towards his be- 
loved female, in a beautifully curved line. The female partially raises 
herself from her eggs, emits a low cry, resumes her former posture, and 
her delighted partner flies off to the sea, to seek a favourite fish for her 
whom he loves. 

The young are at length hatched. The parents become more and 
more attached to them, as they grow up. Abundance of food is procured 
to favour their development. So truly parental becomes the attachment 
of the old birds, that an attempt to rob them of those dear fruits of their 
love, generally proves more dangerous than profitable. Should it be 
made, the old birds defend their brood with great courage and persever- 
ance, and even sometimes, with extended claws and bill, come in contact 
with the assailant, who is glad to make his escape with a sound skin. 

The young are fed until fully fledged, and often after they have left 
the nest, which they do apparently with great reluctance. I have seen 
some as large as the parents, filling the nest, and easily distinguished by the 
white margins of their upper plumage, which may be seen with a good 
glass at a considerable distance. So much fish is at times carried to the 
nest, that a quantity of it falls to the ground, and is left there to putrify 
around the foot of the tree. Only one brood is raised each season. 

The Fish Hawk seldom alights on the ground, and when it does so, 
walks with difficulty, and in an extremely awkward manner. The only 
occasions on which it is necessary for them to alight, are when they collect 
materials for the purpose of repairing their nest at the approach of 
autumn, or for building a new one, or repairing the old, in spring. 

I have found this bird in various parts of the interior of the United 
States, but always in the immediate neighbourhood of rivers or lakes. 
When I first removed to Louisville in Kentucky, several pairs were in 
the habit of raising their brood annually on a piece of ground immediate- 
ly opposite the foot of the Falls of the Ohio in the State of Indiana. The 
ground belonged to the venerable General Clakk, and I was several 
times invited by him to visit the spot. Increasing population, however, 
has driven off" the birds, and few are now seen on the Oliio, unless during 
their migrations to and from Lake Erie, where I have met with them. 

I have observed many of these birds at the approach of winter, sail- 

u d 2 

420 - FISH HAWK. 

ing over the lakes near the Mississippi, where they feed on the fish which 
the Wood Ihis kills, the Hawks themselves being unable to discover 
them whilst alive in the muddy water with which these lakes are filled. 
There the Ibises wade among the water in immense flocks, and so trample 
the bottom as to convert the lakes into filthy puddles, in which the fishes 
are unable to respire with ease. They rise to the surface, and are in- 
stantly killed by the Ibises. The whole surface is sometimes covered in 
this manner with dead fish, so that not only are the Ibises plentifully 
supplied, but Vultures, Eagles and Fish Hawks, come to participate in 
the spoil. Except in such places, and on such occasions, I have not ob- 
served the Fish Hawk to eat of any other prey than that which it had 
procured by plunging headlong into the water after it. 

I have frequently heard it asserted that the Fish Hawk is sometimes 
drawn under the water and drowned, when it has attempted to seize a 
fish which is too strong for it, and that some of these birds have been 
found sticking by their talons to the back of Sturgeons and other large 
fishes. But, as nothing of this kind ever came under my observation, I 
am unable to corroborate these reports. The roosting place of this bird 
is generally on the top-branches of the tree on which its nest is placed, or 
of one close to it. 

Fish Hawks are very plentiful on the coast of New Jersey, near 
Great Egg Harbour, where I have seen upwards of fifty of their nests 
in the course of a day's walk, and where I have shot several in the course 
of a morning. When wounded, they defend themselves in the manner 
usually exhibited by Hawks, erecting the feathers of the head, and try- 
ing to strike with their powerful talons and bill, whilst they remain pros- 
trate on their back. 

The largest fish which I have seen this bird take out of the water, 
was a Weak-Fish, such as is represented in the plate, but sufficiently 
large to weigh more than five pounds. The bird carried it into the air 
with difficulty, and dropped it, on hearing the report of a shot fired at it. 

Falco Haliaetus, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 129 — Lath. Ind. Ornith. voL i. p. I7. 

Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 26. 
Carolina Osprey, Lath. Synops. vol. i. p. 74. 
Fish Hawk, Falco Haliaetus, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 13. PI. 5. fig. 1. 

Adult Male. Plate LXX:^I. 


Bill short, as broad as deep at the base, the sides convex, dorsal 
outline straight at the base, curved towards the end ; upper mandible 
cerate, the edges acute, with a festoon at the curvature, the tip trigo- 
nal, deflected, very acute ; lower mandible inflected at the edges, which 
are slightly arched, the tip obtusely truncate, the dorsal line slightly con- 
cave at the base, convex towards the end. Nostrils oval, oblique, lateral, 
in the fore part of the cere. Head rather large. Body robust. Legs 
rather long; tarsus short, remarkably thick, covered all round with 
hexagonal scales ; toes also remarkably thick, the outer versatile, covered 
anteriorly with broad, laterally with small hexagonal scales ; claws curved, 
roundish, very acute. 

Plumage compact, imbricated ; feathers of the head and neck narrow, 
of the back broad and rounded, of the breast also rounded. Tibial 
feathers short, tarsus feathered anteriorly one-third down. Wings very 
long, acute, the third quill longest, the second and fourth equal, the first 
not much shorter. Tail rather long, of twelve broad, rounded feathers.' 

Bill brownish-black, blue at the base and margin ; cere light-blue. 
Iris yellow. Feet pale greyish-blue, tinged with brown ; claws black. 
The general colour of the upper parts is dusky brown, the tail barred 
with pale brown. The upper part of the head and neck white, the middle 
part of the crown dark brown. A broad band of the latter colour from 
the bill down the side of the neck on each side. Under parts of the neck 
broAvnish white, streaked with dark brown. Under parts generally 
white. Anterior tarsal feathers tinged with brown. 

Length 23 inches, extent of wings 54 ; biU along the back 2 ; tarsus 
2 J, middle toe 3. ' 

The Weak Fish. 

The Weak Fish makes its appearance along our eastern shores about 
the middle of April, and remains until autumn. It is caught in the 
seine, and sold in our markets, being a delicate well-flavoured fish. It 
seldom attains any remarkable size. It is particularly plentiful about 
Great Egg Harbour, in Mew Jersey. • 

( 422 ) 


Cjprimulgus vociferus, Wils. 

PLATE LXXXII. Male and Female. 

This bird makes its appearance in most parts of our Western and 
Southern Districts, at the approach of spring, but is never heard, and in- 
deed scarcely ever seen, in the State of Louisiana. The more barren 
and mountainous parts of the Union seem to suit it best. Accordingly, 
the open Barrens of Kentucky, and the country through which the Alle- 
ghany ridges pass, are more abundantly supplied with it than any other 
regions. Yet, wherever a small tract of country, thinly covered with 
timber, occurs in the Middle Districts, there the Whip-poor-will is heard 
during the spring and early autumn. 

This species of Night-jar, like its relative the Chuck-willVwidow, is 
seldom seen during the day, unless when accidentally discovered in a state 
of repose, when, if startled, it rises and flies off, but only to such a dis- 
tance as it considers necessary, in order to secure it from the farther in- 
trusion of the disturber of its noon-day slumbers. Its flight is very low, 
light, swift, noiseless, and protracted, as the bird moves over the places 
which it inhabits, in pursuit of the moths, beetles and other insects, of 
which its food is composed. During the day, it sleeps on the ground, 
the lowest branches of small trees and bushes, or the fallen trunks of 
trees so abundantly dispersed through the woods. In such situations, you 
may approach within a few feet of it ; and, shoidd you observe it whilst 
asleep, and not make any noise sufficient to alarm it, it will suffer you to 
pass quite near it, without taking flight, as it seems to sleep with great 
soundness, especially about the middle of the day. In rainy or very 
cloudy weather, it sleeps less, and is more on the alert. Its eyes are 
then kept open for hours at a time, and it flies off" as soon as it discovers 
an enemy approaching, which it can do, at such times, at a distance of 
twenty or thirty yards. It always appears with its body parallel to the 
direction of the branch or trunk on which it sits, and, I beUeve, never 
alights across a branch or a fence-rail. 

No sooner has the sun disappeared beneath the horizon, than this bird 
bestirs itself, and sets out in pursuit of insects. It passes low over the 


bushes, moves to the right or left, alights on the ground to secure its prey, 
passes repeatedly and in different directions over the same field, skims 
along the skirts of the woods, and settles occasionally on the tops of 
the fence-stakes or on stumps of trees, from whence it salHes, like a Fly- 
catcher, after insects, and, on seizing them, returns to the same spot. 
When thus situated, it frequently alights on the ground, to pick up a 
beetle. Like the Chuck- will's- widow, it also balances itself in the air, in 
front of the trunks of trees, or against the sides of banks, to discover ants, 
and other small insects that may be lurking there. Its flight is so light 
and noiseless, that wliilst it is passing within a few feet of a person, the 
motion of its wings is not heard by him, and merely produces a gentle 
undulation in the air. During aU this time, it utters a low murmuring 
sound, by which alone it can be discovered in the dark, when passing 
within a few yards of one, and which I have often heard when walking 
or riding through the barrens at night. 

Immediately after the arrival of these birds, their notes are heard in 
tlie dusk and through the evening, in every part of the thickets, and 
along the skirts of the woods. They are clear and loud, and to me are 
more interesting than those of the Nightingale. This taste I have pro- 
bably acquired, by listening to the Whip-poor-will in parts where Nature 
exhibited all her lone grandeur, and where no discordant din interrupted 
the repose of all around. Only think, kind reader, how grateful to me 
must have been the cheering voice of this my only companion, when, 
fatigued and hungry, after a day of unremitted toil, I have planted my 
camp in the wilderness, as the darkness of night put a stop to my labours ! 
I have often listened to the Nightingale, but never under such circum- 
stances, and therefore its sweetest notes have never awaked the same 

The Whip-poor-will continues its lively song for several hours after 
sunset, and then remains silent until the first dawn of day, when its 
notes echo through every vale, and along the declivities of the mountains, 
until the beams of the rising sun scatter the darkness that overhung the 
face of nature. Hundreds are often heard at the same time in different 
parts of the woods, each trying to out-do the others; and when you are 
told that the notes of this bird may be heard at the distance of several 
hundred yards, you may form an idea of the pleasure which every 
lover of nature must feel during the time when this chorus is con- 


Description is incapable of conveying to your mind any accurate idea 
of the notes of this bird, much less of the feelings which they excite. 
Were I to tell you that they are, in fact, not strictly musical, you might 
be disappointed. The cry consists of three distinct notes, the first and 
last of which are ennphatical and sonorous, the intermediate one less so. 
These three notes are preceded by a low cluck, which seems preparatory 
to the others, and which is only heard when one is near the bird. A 
fancied resemblance which its notes ha